Hot! Product Review: Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels

Martell VSOP 1

CONTENTl: Yiew Kai Jie

For more than three centuries, the House of Martell has been known for its delicate, refined style of cognacs. Essential to this style is a unique know-how expressed by two uncompromising principles: the double distillation of exclusively clear wines, and ageing only in fine-grained oak casks, to reveal the natural fruit aromas of the eaux-de-vie.

True to its spirit of curiosity, Martell is further exploring a new dimension of Martell ageing savoir-faire, with the launch of an evolved cognac: Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels. Named in reference to the reddish colour of the aged wood, these barrels provide the perfect maturation for the spirit and were selected to enhance the candied fruit aromas shining through this intense cognac expression. The barrels are typically crafted from wood from trees between 180 to 200 years old, and the casks are characterized by finer, less pronounced tannins that respect the delicacy of Martell’s clear wines.

Uniquely, for Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels, the Martell Cellar Master selected oak casks already used to age eaux-de-vie (a form of light brandy), where the influence of tannins is extremely light. Known as fÛts roux owing to the reddish tinge of their wood, these precious barrels have reached the perfect stage of maturation for both the oak and the eaux-de-vie, thus allowing for an ideally balanced exchange between the two. Not only are they able to fully express their natural fruit aromas, but these blend harmoniously with subtle woody overtones from the red barrels of fine-grained oak, resulting in an exceptionally rich and refined cognac that is an authentic expression of the Martell style.

Martell VSOP

To the eye, the colour of Martell VSOP Aged in Red Barrels – a warm copper with glints of gold – marks it out as a particularly intriguing cognac. On the nose, the impression is one of fullness and freshness, characterized by intense aromas of ripe yellow fruit – mirabelle plum, greengage, apricot and vine peach. On the palate, the luscious fruit notes deliciously fuse with hints of wood and soft spices, as the harmony between the eaux-de-vie and the precious red barrels in which they were aged is reflected in the perfect balance of delicacy and aromatic power of this exceptional cognac.

An authentic expression of the Martell style, it is an evolution of the current Martell VSOP, resulting in aromas that are more subtle, more generous, and more refined. The natural fruit aromas blend harmoniously with subtle woody overtones from the red barrels of fine-grained oak, producing an exceptionally rich and refined cognac.

Our Verdict:
Upon first uncorking the bottle, the red barrels make themselves known as the unmistakable scent of oak barrels permeates the nose. While this unique edition might smell especially strong and robust, the taste and flavour of the drink was far from its aromatic counterpart. With the first sip of the precious elixir, the liquid went smoothly down the gullet without leaving any horrendous afterburn on the palate. But this meant that this particular edition will taste slightly lighter and less stronger compared to a normal bottle of Martell- making it the perfect vintage for beginners or those who do not yet know how to appreciate a fine glass of cognac without reeling in shock from a nasty afterburn. Choose to have this particular cognac either on the rocks or neat, but refrain from adding anything else as having a mixer with this drink completely negates the taste of this liquor.

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