Is there a younger, hipper cognac afoot?

An 18-year Pernod Ricard veteran, Guillaume Thomas teamed up with cousin and master blender Amaury Thomas and marketing guru Andrew Weir to introduce Martingale Cognac. With the new liquid expected to hit store shelves in the United States in September, the collaboration marks the first branded consumer product from a family whose 600-acre domaine has collaborated with prestigious Cognac houses for a century. And when it comes to attracting veteran and new cognac drinkers, the Martingale team is equipped with a plan: innovation.

The plan for Martingdale to attract modern drinkers is straightforward. First, save the finest grapes in the harvest to distill eau-de-vie, then turn the somewhat stodgy Cognac category on its head by exploring the type of innovations often seen in whiskey, tequila, and rum production.

“Compared to other spirits categories such as premium whiskies and tequila, Cognac has seen relatively lower levels of innovation,” says Guillaume Thomas. “Martingale is uniquely placed to augment and disrupt this iconic category. I love the paradox of a 100-year-old producer releasing their first-ever product with a fresh, creative, and unexpected take.”

Spirits writers, marketers and designers are among the most influential forces in the spirits industry. Their opinions, ideas and creative talents inform and influence consumer perceptions and buying decisions. The John Barleycorn Society was started by a group of spirits journalists seeking to honor excellence in all facets of the industry. The journalists spent several years creating a comprehensive competition that became the John Barleycorn Awards. An elite team of authoritative and influential spirits journalists was selected to administer the flagship component of the Awards, a blind tasting competition destined to become the preeminent arbitrator of spirits taste, quality and character.