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Ex-Pernod exec launches Cognac brand

Veteran Pernod Ricard executive Guillaume Thomas will launch Martingale Cognac this autumn, to offer a ‘fresh and more fragrant style of Cognac for a new generation’.

Martingale is said to offer complexity and smoothness for a new generation of Cognac enthusiasts

Thomas, who spent 18 years in executive leadership roles at French firm Pernod Ricard, has launched the venture to honour his family’s 100-year legacy of Cognac production.

He has partnered with his cousin Amaury Thomas, an agricultural engineer who has spent more than a decade managing the family operations, and chief commercial and marketing officer Andrew Weir, who boasts more than 15 years experience marketing luxury spirits brands in the US, on the project.

He said: “Our grandfather, Raymond, was a restless visionary and true entrepreneur. He was an important figure in the history of Cognac, having helped sustain the protected status of the appellation through the post-war era.

“When faced with obstacles, instead of backing down, he doubled down and found his own Martingale, his own recipe for success: hard work, genuine relationships, skills, and craft in Cognac making.

“We now have everything we need, and while my grandfather didn’t get to do this, he was entrusting us as the next generation to create an exceptional Cognac from our own estate. It’s important for us to make our family proud and we embrace the new challenge and expectation to do just that.”

Weir described the Cognac as “exceptional”, and compared to other spirits categories “such as premium whiskies and Tequila”, it has seen “relatively lower levels of innovation”.  He added that Martingale will “disrupt this iconic category”.

He continued: “In my experience leading marketing plans and business growth for luxury spirits, I’ve always been drawn to genuine stories. Martingale’s story is quite incredible, from the vineyards to the distillery, the family chateau, and their obsession with quality.”

Martingale marks the first branded consumer product from the family’s domaine, despite its century-long history of making Cognac for some of the most prestigious houses.

“We supply some of the most prestigious brands in Cognac and have built one of the most coveted vineyards and distilleries in the region,” commented Amaury.

“In honour of my grandfather and our family’s ongoing success in Cognac, we have decided to select some of our finest eaux-de-vie to blend, brand and bottle for the very first time. We have artfully selected and balanced eaux-de-vie from the top four crus in the area, ultimately creating a unique blend that is tailored to this generation’s tastes; one which delivers a fresher and more fragrant style of Cognac.

“I love the paradox of a 100-year-old producer releasing their first ever product with a fresh, creative, and unexpected take.  I am incredibly excited for us to share this story and exceptional liquid with the world.”

Last month, we revealed the world’s biggest-selling Cognac brands, according to our 2023 Brand Champions report.

Not sure what Cognac is? This guide offers an introduction to some of the intricacies of the famous French spirit.

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