Martell returns to its humble roots with the release of the new flagship product: the Martell VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) Aged in Red Barrels. A cognac defined by its elegance and perfect balance of flavor, this recent Martell VSOP is available at Payless Liquors.
What Is the Red Barrels VSOP?
The Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels is a cognac that sports the distinguished title of VSOP, which Martell reserves for cognacs aged for at least five years. According to the cognac house, this specific VSOP originates from cognac aged in a fine-grained oak barrel that features a red hue, a result of the barrel’s aging process. These red barrels are also known as the “futs roux.” The spirit remains in the barrel between four to eight years, which creates the perfect amount of aging between the cognac and the barrel.
A Worthy Successor
According to Martell Cellar Master Christophe Valtaud, he chose the VSOP Aged in Red Barrels as the new signature product to replace the previous title holder from 1960, the Martell VSOP Medallion. Valtaud wanted a cognac that is closer to the house’s iconic style, a sweet, balanced drink that holds mass appeal, especially among the younger demographic. Valtaud deliberately avoided the Medallion’s heavy, spicy notes, which originate from using a combination of older and newer barrels. The Red Barrels cognac is an attempt to pay homage to the iconic Cordon Bleu, while also moving the brand forward with something new and with its own mark.
The Martell Red Barrels VSOP has the perfect combination of pleasing fruit flavor and aged wood overtones. The aroma of the Red Barrels cognac teases soft fruits such as cherry, plums and red grapes, alongside wood notes. A stronger scent of apricot follows, which sets up the spirit’s overall flavor. The taste of the cognac is a delicate blend of apricots, peaches, dried flowers, and red grapes, boosted by the sweet spices and oaky flavors that originate from the old, red barrels.
The balancing act of this cognac complements any type of food, from Western Asian, to spicy and non-spicy. Martell recommends this versatile spirit to create cocktails such as Le Voyage Des Amants and Maracuja Crush, though with the risk of diluting the gentle flavor of the VSOP.
One of the first cognac houses, Martell started in 1715 as immigrant Jean Martell’s trading business in the Cognac region of France. Martell’s use of grapes from the Borderie region and casks made from Troncais oak created the smooth cognac the house is known for. After Martell passed away in 1753, his widow and children greatly expanded the business to where it currently is today. The cognac house’s most famous product is the Cordon Bleu, to which the Red Barrels VSOP pay a tribute.
If you are interested in a cognac that strikes a perfect balance of fruity flavors and refined oak that is closer to Martell’s signature style, try out the VSOP Aged in Red Barrels. This spirit has a measure of 40% ABV and is available at Payless Liquors for $42.99 per 750 mL bottle.