My knowledge of spirits is minimal at best. I’m familiar with plenty of the popular brands that grace the middle levels of liquor store shelves, but the higher my eye level goes the less I recognize. Martell used to be one of those mysterious brands until I had the pleasure of sampling their newest spirit, Martell Blue Swift, at a recent event in downtown Atlanta.
Blue Swift is Martell’s first VSOP that is matured in French Oak casks and finished in Kentucky Bourbon casks. VSOP stands for Very Superior Old Pale which means that it is cognac blended from old eaux-de-vie chosen from amongst the best crus in the Cognac region in France. These are all definitions that I had to look up myself. Remember, my knowledge of spirits is minimal. In layman's terms, though, all it means is that Blue Swift makes for a very strong, very distinct, and very delicious spirit.
The event began sampling some of Martell’s other brands of cognac. Bartenders served up cocktails like the iconic sidecar or Martell’s own Peach Jam which was a blend of Martell VSOP, peach marmalade syrup, peach bitters, and angostura bitters, while trays of hors d'oeuvres circled around the room. After some mingling with other spirit aficionados, Martell’s Lifestyle Manager and Ambassador Karim Lateef took the stage to announce Blue Swift to the crowd.
I had the opportunity to taste Blue Swift both neat and prepared as an Old Fashioned. Personally, I prefered it as part of the cocktail as Blue Swift alone is a bit too strong for my tastes. It’s a solid drink choice regardless, and the oaky finish provided from the bourbon casks gives it a unique flavor. It was the perfect drink to end the evening with.
Martell is one of the oldest cognac houses in the world, founded in 1715 and first made its way to United States shores in 1783, which makes it all the more surprising that I was unaware of the brand until now. After learning more about the brand and getting to sample Blue Swift I think it’s safe to say that I know exactly what spirit I’ll be on the lookout for during my next trip to the liquor store.