Martell Global Ambassador Remy Savage Talks The Brilliance Behind The New L'Or Cognac Collection

By Bianca Gracie | March 7, 2024

MARTELL_L_Or_Reserve_du_Château.jpgCourtesy of Maison Martell

Martell has remained one of the world’s most successful luxury cognac brands for over 300 years. The maison continues to be ambitious with one of its most exciting launches yet. Its new collection, L’Or de Jean Martell – Réserve du Château (which is currently available for purchase at ReserveBar), kicks off its annual release of cognacs that further the brand's ultra-prestige reputation.

Each year, Martell plans to release a new luxury cognac in partnership with a prestigious French château. And L'Or de Jean Martell is a symbol that's close to home. It honors the Martell family's historic estate in France, Château de Chanteloup, which is considered the "heart and soul of Martell". L'Or is a cognac like no other. It's liquid gold in a bottle: equally rich, syrupy and complex. Only 1,000 bottles of L’Or de Jean Martell Reserve du Chateau de Chanteloup are available (it officially launched February 26 with an SRP of $7,500. The liquid comes in a Baccarat crystal decanter with 19-carat gold on the neck, each housed inside a handmade wooden cabinet.

Below, the brand's global ambassador Remy Savage speaks to EDITION about the new launch and shares his mixologist perspective.

Since you became the ambassador, how have you seen the visibility of the brand grow?

My position is something that I really enjoy. I think that Martell is doing something very right. My position is to be the global mixologist. So they basically allow me to express my way of working with the liquids and perhaps give them advice and expertise around what's going on in the world when it comes to cocktails. So, I cannot take much responsibility or credibility when it comes down to the sales and exposure of the brand. I think what my teams are trying to do when interacting with my Cognac is just to try and provide experiences that we think reflect the brand in a way that kind of matches the universe.

I think "universe" is the perfect word to describe Martell because it feels like you're stepping into a new world of cognac.

The nice thing is that Cognac is a category that is brilliant. And I think that there's no houses that are bad. Because the BNIC’s [Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac] standards are so rough. You have to do [certain things] in order to be called Cognac. What is great is that within these great liquids, you still have a lot of personality from one to the other. Because of Maison Martell's processes, you end up having a delicate cognac to make drinks with. We can take it in a lot of different directions.

What's your favorite way to drink L'Or?

I think we've tried to make drinks with the L’Or and I found that it was too hard. It wasn't good enough to make a drink. The nature of the liquidity is so complex, that anytime you go in any other direction, it’s not as good. Cognac is already a cocktail in the way that you have to blend in very small detail, which is very much the work that we do. You have to blend things in order to make them work. And I feel like a liquid like L’Or is for sipping. It's a cocktail that is already finished. I don't need to add anything else.

MARTELL_REMY_3.jpgRemy Savage. Photo courtesy of Maison Martell

As a mixologist, do you sometimes feel pressure to find a perfect blend or perfect cocktail? I know you're a master at what you do. But there's always new cocktail trends coming out.

I think it's interesting because there is, as you say, art trends. There are some better than most, but there's also a great heritage of classic drinks. Not all of the classics are 100 plus years old, some classic drinks are 20 years old and I think that it's amazing. There's always an alphabet of cocktails, and it seems to keep on evolving. Some drinks are actually becoming neoclassic. In New York, you have Milk & Honey and Attaboy that will do something like the penicillin [cocktail]. These are drinks that people order in different parts of the world. And in 30 years, it will be the same as a Cosmo.

I feel like classic cocktails could never go out of style because each generation kind of discovers it for the first time.

That’s true. So I feel like it's always on the side of trends, right? Trends very relevant to classics. And nevertheless, the classics keep on absorbing more [trends]. Also, our niche is all of the bars are based on different art movements. If I opened a bar based on minimalism or the abstract expressionism in New York … I think there's a Basquiat reference on your finger. If I want to be in a bar that is in correlation with Basquiat at this moment in time in New York, I can. But trends aren't relevant to me. I just need to focus on what I do, which is why bars in Paris are based on art nouveau and the philosophy behind it.

Just seeing the experience of how Martell makes cognac, have you learned anything unique?

First of all, Cognac is very consistent. It's really people making something consistent out of nature, and I think that is incredible. That year after year— I think it's 120 or so years old—the liquid is still following the same guidelines, even though the grapes are not the same. The climate is not the same. The people working aren’t the same, but they’re trying to defy the laws of nature by creating something that is consistent. I think the moment you try to express yourself through the medium of bars or food, I'm sure it’s the same in your profession, being consistent in the quality of the product that you give is key. There’s many little things in the world of spirits that are as consistent within the intent.

MARTELL_REMY_4.jpgRemy Savage. Photo courtesy of Maison Martell

How do you think Martell cognac pairs well with cuisine?

I think that we've learned through history that what pairs wonderfully with food is a great base product, mainly wines. We like to think that the grape is the fruit of France, I would say it's probably one of our symbols. Britain doesn't have grapes. Portugal does, but they’re a bit harder and sweeter. There's only a few regions in the world that have what we have. So we were very happy with this. And we always will remind the rest of the world. Cognac, unlike other spirits, is made out of a fruit which by nature, has some sweetness and some acidity. If you eat a grape, there's already a lot of layers. I do believe that these two things carry through the distillation process. In my personal opinion, having 25 different classes of undiluted cognac with a meal, I don't know if this is something that I would enjoy. But I do believe there's some interesting parallels between cognac as a liquid and some elements of cooking. I think by nature, there's a sweetness to it. I worked with Chef [Alexandre Mazzia] in order to create a drink that matches the moment that we are spending with the food. I wouldn't say any open any bottle of cognac with any food and it's going to work. But I do believe that if you spend a bit of time pairing them together, they could work well.

As the brand ambassador, what are you looking forward to this year?

I would like to do a lot more with the U.S. market. I think it's an interesting market. U.K. and Europe are where I spend most of my time. We do spend a lot of time in Asia and it’s really interesting to work there because the palate is a bit different. But I would like the U.S. to be one of my focal points when it comes to just understanding the way people enjoy cocktails because it's obviously it is the country of cocktails.

I think that's true, which is why I asked you about them earlier.

It's very fun. It's not necessarily the country of ingredients nor the country of flavors. I mean, most of the liquors and wines come from Europe and a lot of things are also happening in Asia. But historically, the U.S. equals cocktail. So it’s very interesting to have Martell celebrate this. We are very lucky as a maison to have a partner in a country that’s so creative.

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Photography by: Maison Martell