Cognac house Maison Martell has revealed a new limited release in time for Chinese New Year, with the decanter and the liquid both paying homage to the Year of the Rabbit.
With whisky and cognac enjoying huge growth in popularity across Asia in the last decade, the annual Lunar New Year now sees a swathe of limited edition bottlings. But few make as much effort as Martell.
The oldest of the grand Cognac houses with over three centuries of history, Martell launched a dedicated Zodiac Edition collection in 2022 in an effort to utilize the incredible selection of eaux-de-vie in its cellars.
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Assemblage du Lapin follows on from last year’s successful debut release of Assemblage du Tigre and is just as spectacular. Similar to last year, the crystal decanter contains the house’s most precious blend, L’Or de Jean Martell 1715.
Named after the house’s founder, this expression is a complex blend of over 1,400 eaux-de-vie, all taken from its Jean Martell Cellar, where the house’s oldest and rarest liquids are kept.
But the cellar master Christophe Valtaud has added a new twist to the blend to make it unique to the Year of the Rabbit. Valtaud maintained the aromatic profile of L’Or de Jean Martell 1715 but added rare vintage eaux-de-vie that were distilled in past Years of the Rabbit.
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While it may sound like nothing more than an act of symbolism, the additional liquids enriched the blend with extra sweetness and increased the length of the finish.
Similar to the blend, no expense has been spared with the design of the decanter. Crafted by the renowned French crystal mouse manufacturer Daum, the design helps to emphasize the deep-amber color of the liquid by seeming to hold it in midair.
Its gold-painted crystal stopper is naturally shaped in the form of a rabbit, once again paying homage to the year in which it was created.
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Appearance: A deep mahogany, eluding to serious age and depth.
Nose: Extraordinary. Starts with an intense sweetness of honey and caramelized nuts. Time in the glass allows the liquid’s age to come through with hints of black pepper and leather. A real journey that continues to dance between light and vibrant, and deep and mature.
Palate: Candied grapefruits to start before deeper sweet notes take charge. Mascherano cherries make way for cacao nibs as the cask influence begins to take charge.
Finish: Long, dominated by wooded spices.
Verdict: 8/10 – Possibly one of the most complex spirits one could wish to nose. That depth doesn’t quite translate on the palate, where the liquid’s age is more apparent, but it nonetheless offers the whole spectrum of cognac flavors, from the delicious fruity notes to the darker wooded spice.
L’Or de Jean Martell 1715 – Assemblage du Lapin will be available from January in extremely limited quantities for an SRP of €9,000 (approx $9,700), martell.com