Review: Martingale Cognac

Review: Martingale Cognac

There’s a new Cognac on the market, and it’s trying very hard to appeal to a younger generation of brandy drinker. Despite the hipper approach to a very old drink, Martingale Cognac retains the pedigree of a heritage brand. It is the product of Guillaume and Amaury Thomas, fourth generation Cognac-makers whose family distillery has been, until now, anonymously producing quality eau-de-vie for unnamed clients for over 100 years. The Thomas family estate includes one of the largest vineyards in France’s Cognac region, spanning some 600 acres across the top four crus. Brandies from each of those denominated areas are used to construct Martingale, but exact proportions and ages are unspecified. The goal of all that blending, according to the Thomas duo, is to offer drinkers an entirely new category of Cognac somewhere between VSOP and XO. Let’s check it out.

The straw gold color of this Cognac certainly suggests something much younger than XO, perhaps even younger than the VSOP requirement of four years. The aroma is bright and youthful with a big, waxy bouquet of fresh cut white flowers laced with a thick note of vanilla extract, some poached pear, and a bit of fresh oak. There’s some spiritous volatility, nothing off-putting but a bit raw. It tempers to vanilla cookies and almond flour as things open in the glass. On the palate, Martingale is clean and light and surprisingly fruity with sugary notes of green apple and tinned pear that sweeten further to green Jolly Ranchers and peach candies on the midpalate. Those flavors don’t deliver the kind of depth you’d expect from an older Cognac, but their freshness is nevertheless impressive and engaging. The finish is similarly fruited with warm apple notes and gently spicy, seasoned oak, somewhat resembling a young Calvados. Martingale definitely stands apart from other Cognacs, and while it’s a satisfying sipper on its own, I imagine this one even better suited to mixing.

80 proof.


Martingale Cognac




Drew Beard is assistant editor for Drinkhacker and winner of several booze-related merit badges, including Certified Specialist in Spirits and Executive Bourbon Steward. A former federal employee turned hotelier and spirits journalist, he looks forward to his next midlife crisis.

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