The Martell Heritage Team On The Importance Of History And Tradition

Maison Martell is the type of brand that needs a dedicated Heritage Team – after all, it has hundreds of years of unbroken history, and it takes specialists to keep track of it. These include the likes of Jacques Menier, Heritage Director, who has been with the company since 1984, and Amaury and Thierry Firino Martell, brothers who represent the ninth generation of the Martell family. The three of them, arriving from France, were in Malaysia to conduct a two-week tour that would take them on a series of dinners around the country – and to regale their guests with stories about the long-running cognac house.

From left: Jacques Menier, Amaury and Thierry Firino Martell

“We have more than 300 years of heritage. It is important to keep contact with our consumers,” Menier explains. “This is why we are here – it’s to be as close as possible to the consumers.” Having been part of the Heritage Team since the 2000s, Menier has travelled around the world in service to cognac and has spent a lot of time in Asia. Of the current campaign, he remarks that it involves the third generation of loyal Martell customers and distributors – the grandfather, father and son were all involved. “Our consumers are very loyal,” Menier says, adding that the house’s large stocks of varying ages have contributed to its consistency throughout the generations.

As for the current generation, Amaury and Thierry are Martell in not just name and blood, but also upbringing. Their childhood was spent amongst the vineyards of Cognac itself. “It’s a very small town, only 20,000 people,” Amaury says. “But a very nice town. We are close to the sea. It’s quiet, but with all the vineyards around, it’s very nice.” By the time he and his brother had reached their teens, they were already earning some extra pocket money by helping out in the vineyards that his father managed on behalf of Martell.

Amaury has stayed in the business: a winegrower in the summer months and a distiller in the winter – a natural thing for him, he says. “For me, I need to be outside. We grew up in the countryside, so that’s why I love it. And to be outside, to work in the vineyard and in different seasons… always a different job during the year,” he explains. “And of course, making cognac – there’s Cordon Bleu in my blood!”

The Firino Martell brothers leading a toast at a recent Martell Heritage Dinner at Rumah Tangsi.

Thierry has since become a lawyer, running his practice out of nearby Bordeaux, counting wine and spirits law one of his specialties. “You could not make a good cognac if you don’t have a good wine, so the work done in the vineyard is very important,” he says. He and his brother are well-travelled also, speaking around the world on behalf of the Maison Martell. “What I love about coming to places like Malaysia, is that it’s the end of my work that started in the vineyards in Cognac,” Amaury says. “Cognac has always been exported around the world, which is amazing, because Cognac is a tiny little village,” Thierry adds.

From left:  Amaury Firino Martell, Benny Tsang – Managing Director of Pernod Ricard Malaysia, with Jacques Menier and Thierry Firino Martell.

Thierry is also raising the 10th Martell generation, as his seven-year-old son is already displaying an affinity for the craft. “He’s getting ready. He’s excited. He’s started going into the vineyards with Amaury. So he will start like this, as we did; his first job will probably be in the family vineyard.”

Martell Heritage Dinner at Rumah Tangsi.

They have known Menier for a long time, as well. “What is funny is that Jacques’ teacher was our uncle, and now Jacques is teaching us the job. That’s the transmission,” Amaury observes. “It’s very important in Cognac country and also in the cognac industry, the transmission of savoir faire.”
“You have to live it,” Thierry adds. “We know, because we’ve been in it, the Martell house. It’s not just a company, it’s a house. It’s welcoming. You share these experiences at home, you share them overseas. These are the things to tell the tenth generation.”


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