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The rich story of Martell, Hennessy, Courvoisier and Rémy Martin

3 April 2012 No Comment

Imagine opening a bottle of cognac that is as old as 30, 40 or hundred years old. That’s the joy of cognac. Every cognac bottle you hold is a piece of history, a history that is both rich in culture and quality.

Today there are many cognac houses, some are small and get less exposure whereas some have become household names among cognac lovers. It is important to take time and reflect into the early years.


We thought we would do a quick compilation of the history of four major brands – Hennessy, Courvoisier, Martell and Rémy Martin. It is amazing to note that these brands have been around since the 1700s. In a world where a week ago seems like it was years ago, thinking of something that started in the 1700s and still is a powerhouse when it comes to dominating the cognac market is quite an achievement. Let’s take a quick look at these three major cognac brands and the rich history that surrounds them.



  • Jean Martell was born Jersey, Channel Islands in 1964
  • The company was founded in 1715
  • By 1721, Jean Martell was already exporting 200,000 liters of cognac to UK (Jean Martell died in 1753)
  • 1868 marks a big year in Martell’s history since this is when it started exporting to China, Japan, Hong Kong and other Asian countries
  • The Martell Cordon Bleu was officially launched in 1912
  • In 1936 Martell gets the royal seal as the drink of choice for ambassadors on board Queen Mary
  • In 1979 Martell Cordon Bleu appears in the classic film Apocalypse Now
  • Martell gets an invite to be the official supplier for Oriental Express
  • In 2004 the company awarded the first “Martell Artist of the Year”
  • A company that was founded back in 1715 still is one of the top cognac brands in the world
  • Official Martell site : www.martell.com




  • Began delivering cognac to U.S. in 1794
  • The trademark “Jas Hennessy and Co.” was adopted in 1813
  • The official grade X.O was created by Maurice Hennessy
  • During 1905 campaign the company used the phrase “Hennessy, the company which made Cognac famous.”
  • In 1930 the company started marketing itself with the slogan “The World’s largest stock of eaux-de-vie.”
  • Merged with champagne producer Moet and Chandon in 1971
  • Another merger follows in 1987 with the fashion powerhouse Louis Vuitton
  • In 2001 Hennessy broke the record of 35 million bottles sold worldwide
  • Hennessy products include : VS, VSOP, XO, Pure White, Private Reserve, Paradis, Richard, Ellipse
  • Only 100 bottles of Ellipse have been produced
  • Official Hennessy site : www.hennessy.com




  • The history of Courvoisier starts with Emanuel Courvoisier and Louis Gallois
  • It is also said that Napoleon loved Courvoisier and the company still uses “The Cognac of Napoleon” to this day
  • In 1843 Courvoisier was moved into the Chateau at Jarnac in the cognac region
  • Napoleon III granted Courvoisier the title of “Official Supplier To The Imperial Court” in 1869
  • Cognac became the choice in the royal courts of Denmark, England and Sweden
  • In 1889 Courvoisier won the Gold Medal and was served during the official opening of the Eiffel Tower
  • In 1909 the Simon family took over the leadership of Courvoisier
  • Courvoiser received the Prestige de la France (Highest award for a fine wine or spirit in France) in 1983
  • Today Courvoisier is owned by the fourth largest premium spirit company in the world, Beam Global Spirits and Wine Inc.
  • Courvoisier EXCLUSIF is the only cognac that is designed for cocktail drinks. It was launched in 2007
  • Official Courvoisier site : www.courvoisier.com

Rémy Martin



  • The history of Rémy Martin starts with Rémy Martin’s trading company in 1824.
  • Rémy Martin was the first major producer making Fine Champagne Cognac (at least 50% Grande Champagne, the other part needs to be Petite Champagne).
  • In the beginning of the 19th century the house’s emblem became the Chiron centaur. It represents the union between heaven and earth, but also between man and nature, symbol of all the know-how and excellence of the Remy Martin’s house.
  • The Louis XIII Cognac is   manufactured since 1936  by Baccarat.
  • Today, Rémy Martin is part of the Rémy Cointreau group.
  • Rémy Martin VSOP Matured Cask Finish is their newest Cognac and replaces the regular VSOP.
  • Official Rémy Martin site: www.remymartin.com

If you are looking to learn more about a particular brand (big or small), please let us know and we will do the digging and bring more information to you.

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