Martell Bottle Catalogue PART 1: standard range bottles and vintages
(1299 standard bottles and vintages; but still not complete. Last updated: Nov 24, 2023)
Martell is the oldest of the ‘Big Four’ (Hennessy, Rémy Martin, Courvoisier and Martell) but also the smallest. Established in 1715. They are not independant anymore since Seagram took over in 1988. And as of 2001 they are part of the Pernod-Ricard group. The Firino-family (family to the Martell’s by marriage) are still in control.
Their embleme is the little swallow, but that has not always been their embleme. It used to be a shield with three mallets, which later on got the swallow added on top. The mallets are derived from the French word ‘marteau’ and the swallow is chosen because the French word ‘martinet’ means swallow, which is as close to Martell as they could get to find an animal to represent their brand (although technically a martinet is a swift, which is not really the same as a swallow!). A little more on this topic you can find here.
Martell is famous for its Cordon Bleu cognac, which has set a standard for the industry.
A great help in compiling this catalogue page has been the Martell Timetable page created by ‘vieuxcognacs’. This page contains a wealth of information on the development of Martell bottles and labels over the years.
– 1a. Cognaçaises
– 1b. ‘Bat’-labels (stars, stars-vs, vs and flasks)
– 1c. Paillarde type bottles (stars, stars-vs and vs)
– 1d. Paillarde type bottles with modern swift
– 1e. Sturdy bottles
– 1f. Flasks: Dry Pale, Three Stars and VS
– 3a. VSOP with old white and blue VOP label
– 3b. VSOP white label
– 3c. Médaillon and VSEP-Médaillon
– 3d. VSOP-Médaillon white labels
—– 3d1. VSOP-Médaillon just white label
—– 3d2. VSOP-Médaillon Liqueur Brandy, white label
—– 3d3. VSOP-Médaillon Fine Champagne, white label
—– 3d4. VSOP-Médallion Liqueur Brandy Fine Champagne, white label
– 3e. VSOP-Médaillon, green glass, black and gold label, broad bottle
—– 3e1. VSOP-Médaillon black and gold label, broad bottle no further qualification
—– 3e2. VSOP-Médaillon Liqueur Brandy and Liqueur Cognac, black and gold label, broad bottle
– 3f. VSOP-Médaillon, green glass, black and gold label, paillarde bottle
—– 3f1. VSOP-Médaillon black and gold label, paillarde bottle
—– 3f2. VSOP-Médaillon Liqueur Cognac, black and gold label, paillarde bottle
—– 3f3. VSOP-Médaillon Special Réserve, black and gold label, paillarde bottle
– 3g. VSOP-Médaillon, white glass,
—– 3g1. VSOP-Médaillon red label and red cap
—– 3g2. VSOP-Médaillon red label and blue cap
—– 3g3. VSOP-Médaillon green label
– 3h. VSOP, robust bottles
– 3i. VSOP and VSOP-Médaillon, flasks
– 6a. Cordon Bleu, old models
– 6b. Cordon Bleu, white split-up labels with rounded corners
– 6c. Cordon Bleu, white split-up labels with sharp angled corners
– 6d. Cordon Bleu, ecru labels, cordon blue in blue letters
– 6e. Cordon Bleu, ecru labels, cordon blue in golden letters on a blue rectangle
– 6f. Cordon Bleu, tapered bottles, dark label
– 6g. Cordon Bleu, tapered bottles, cream coloured label
– 6h. Cordon Bleu, white label and Martell in white on a blue band
– 6i. Cordon Bleu, white label with a straight upper edge
– 6j. Cordon Bleu, white label with a straight upper edge and blue capsule
1. Stars, Dry Pale, stars-VS and VS
Some features to determine the age of the three star bottles:
– importers for the US: pre-prohibition: G.S. Nicholas & Co. (never seen mentioned on a bottle); from 1933 till 1954: Park & Tilford; from 1955: Browne Vintners)
– legal guaranty notice of 1909: export bottles all have the 1909 guaranty notice after 1909, domestic bottles not.
– label with Martell name above the main label appeared from 1928 on.
– ‘very old pale’ left and right of the emblem: from early on till the end; ‘cognac brandy’: only on US bottles from 1937 till 1964.
– before 1933: corks with foil cap.
– spring caps from 1933 – 1967; it seems that corks with foil caps were also used around 1940-1945.
– after 1966: bi-coloured screw caps.
– shorter, wider bottles with ‘bat’-emblem from 1968.
– tapered bottles from 1980.
(Special thanks go to Vieuxcognacs and his Martell Timetable 1864-2017).
1a. Cognaçaise bottles
1a1. One or two stars or swallows on neck:
1a2. Three stars without the 1909 guarantee notice:
1a3. Three stars, blue caps. Under the main label is just the 1909 guarantee notice in French (after 1909):
1a4. Three stars, blue caps. Under the main label is just the just the 1909 guarantee notice in English:
1a5. Three stars, blue caps; with two text boxes under the main label:
1a6. Bi-coloured screw caps (from 1966):
1b. ‘Bat’- labels (stars, vs-stars and vs)
1b1. Three stars in the middle of the neck blob (starting 1968, most have screw caps, some have corked caps):
1b2. An emblem in the neck blob with three stars below it (1970s):
1b3. Three stars and VS on neck label, broad bottles with a ‘bat’-label (ca. 1970s):
1b5. Bottles without an age qualification:
1c. Paillarde type bottles (stars, vs-stars and vs; from end 1970s)
1c1. Three stars and a swift on the neck label:
1c2. Three stars and VS on neck label (from end 1970s):
Volume and ABV on black band below or no black band:
below: grande fine cognac:
below: appellation cognac controlée:
1 Litre and 1.13L:
1c3. VS on neck label:
1d. Paillarde type bottles with modern swift
1d1. *V*S* in gold on the label:
1d2. with emblem on the label and VS fine cognac on the shoulder:
1d3. with *V*S* in blue on the label:
1d4. Blue label:
1e. Sturdy bottles (2021):
1f. Flasks: Dry Pale, Three stars and VS
1f1. Dry Pale flasks (starting second half of the 1950s):
1f2. Three star flasks:
1f3. VS flasks:
2. 20 YO, VSO, VSP, VO, VOP and VVESOP on neck label.
3. VSOP, Médaillon and VSOP Médaillon
VSOP and Médaillon start off end 1950s as two different qualities, Médaillon being superior to VSOP; as of 1962 the two qualities merge into one: VSOP-Médaillon.
3a. VSOP with the old blue and white VOP-label (ca. 1959-1962):
3b. VSOP white label
3c. Médaillon and VSEP Medaillon (1960-1962):
3d. VSOP-Médaillon, white labels
3d1. VSOP-Médaillon, white labels, no further qualification (1962 till early 1970s):
3d2. VSOP-Médaillon Liqueur Brandy, white labels
3d3. VSOP-Médaillon Fine Champagne, white labels
(medaillon with adornments)
(Just round medaillons)
3d4. VSOP-Médallion Fine Champagne Liqueur Brandy, white labels (notice use of English word ‘medallion’):
3e. VSOP-Médaillon, green glass, black with gold labels broad bottles (from ca. 1975 to 1980s)
3e1. VSOP-Médaillon, black with gold labels broad bottles, no further qualification:
3e2. VSOP-Médaillon, black with gold labels broad bottles, liqueur brandy and liqueur cognac:
black corked caps:
black screw caps:
Copper coloured caps, all corks:
3f. VSOP-Médaillon, green glass, black with gold labels paillarde bottles (from ca. 1980)
3f1. VSOP-Médaillon, black with gold labels paillarde bottles, no further qualification:
3f2. VSOP-Médaillon, black with gold labels paillarde bottles, Liqueur Cognac:
3f3. VSOP-Médaillon, black with gold labels paillarde bottles, Spécial Réserve:
3g. VSOP-Médaillon, white glass (late 1980s until 2000s)
3g1. VSOP-Médaillon, red label red cap:
Liqueur cognac stated:
Frame with ‘old fine cognac’ not attached to the emblem:
Lower, wider bottles:
Frame with ‘old fine cognac’ attached to the emblem (ca. 2000s):
From 2011, old fine cognac:
Very fine cognac:
3g2. VSOP-Médaillon, red label blue cap (from 2015):
3g3. VSOP-Médaillon, green label:
3h. VSOP, robust bottles (from 2018):
3i. VSOP and VSOP-Medaillon flasks:
4. Noblige and Cordon Rubis
Cordon Rubis, old emblem:
Cordon Rubis, new emblem:
Noblige, old type bottle (Asian market, 1990s):
Noblige, new type bottle (2000s):
Noblige, new emblem (from 2006 on):
5. Napoléon Cordon Noir and Napoléon Special Reserve
Napoleon Cordon Noir (end 1970s – 1990s):
Cordon Noir Napoleon printed in Roman letters, brand name is ‘Martell’:
Cordon Noir Napoleon printed in Italic letters, brand name is ‘Martell & Co.’:
Brown, almost clear glass:
Napoléon (from early 1980s till 1990s):
Napoleon special Réserve:
6. Cordon Bleu
Some features to determine the age of Cordon Bleu bottles:
– Cordon Bleu started around 1919-1922 (pre-runners exist since 1912, but they are called ESOP or VVESOP, not Cordon Bleu).
– First CB bottles have white labels.
– Cordon Bleu stated only on crescent till 1929, with an exception of the year 1922. After 1929 Cordon Blue returned to the main label and Martell band appears above the main label.
– Bottle shape changes to short wider model in 1933 with a riveted ribbon.
– spring caps in use from 1933 – 1962 (not in US); from around 1950 till 1959 capped corks were also used.
– Cordon Blue in white on a blue background in the US only.
– ribbons not riveted anymore as of 1960.
– capped cork from 1962 till 1966.
– screw cap from 1966.
– US importers: 1933-1955: Par & Tilford; 1955-1969: Browne Vintners; 1969: Joseph Garneau.
– in green frosted glass with gold and beige labels from 1976 on.
– tapered bottles from 1985 on.
– back to the short, wide bottle with clear glass and white label from 1992.
(Special thanks go to Vieuxcognacs and his Martell Timetable 1864-2017).
6a. Old model bottles (1922-1933)
6b. White split-up label, rounded corners (1933- ca. 1977)
(These labels with rounded corners seem to have been in use in all other countries, but the UK and the US)
6b-a. the cordon riveted to the foil; often with a spring cap (1933-1960):
6b-b. capped corks and no riveting, liqueur brandy (1960 – ca. 1980):
6b-c. crimped caps and capped corks, no riveting (1960-1978):
6c. White split-up label, sharp angled corners (ca. 1933- ca. 1978)
(These labels with sharp angled corners have only been in use in the UK and the US; in the US they had Cordon Bleu written in white letters on a blue background)
6c-a. UK import, Cordon Bleu printed in blue letters; they usually state ‘fine liqueur cognac brandy’.
Cord riveted to the capsule, untill 1960; often spring caps:
capped corks and no riveting: after 1960:
6c-b. US import; Cordon Bleu in white letters on a blue background; they all state ‘fine liqueur cognac brandy. Bottles for the US never had a cord riveted to the capsule:
6d. Ecru label, Cordon Bleu in blue letters (around 1975-1985)
6e. Ecru label, Cordon Bleu in golden letters on a dark blue rectangle (mostly for US market around 1978-1985 but also seen for Italian, UK and Mexican markets)
6f. Tapered bottles, dark labels (ca 1980-1990)
Text in French:
Text in English:
No text on front:
Frosted green glass bottles with modern closure:
With (old) liqueur cognac stated:
6g. Tapered bottles, cream coloured labels (1980s, predominantly US market)
6h. White label, Martell in white letters on a blue band (from early 1990s)
Several different escutcheons used on the labels:
6h-a. ‘old classic cognac’ (ca 1990-2010):
6h-b. ‘grand classic cognac’ (USA) :
6h-c. ‘old liquor cognac’ (Asian):
6h-d. ‘extra old cognac’:
6i. White label with straight upper edge; new swift (from 2018)
Extra Old cognac:
Grand Classic cognac:
6j. White label with straight upper edge and blue capsule (from 2022)
Extra Old cognac:
Grand Classic cognac:
7. Cordon Supreme and XO Cordon Supreme (from 1987 till late 1990s):
8. XO Supreme:
I am a little bit in doubt here: are these differences in colour real or is it the lighting?
9. XO (from 2005):
New design, Extra Old:
New design, Extra Fine:
10. Cordon Argent (ca. 1930s till 1970s)
11. Extra and Cordon Argent Extra
11a. Extra, broad bottle, text in blue (ca. 1960s-70s)
11b. Extra, broad bottle, text in black and with cognac stated (ca. 1970s):
11c. Extra, tapered bottles, red wax caps (est. 1980s, US market):
11d. Cordon Argent Extra, tapered bottles (est. 1970-80s)
11e. Extra, decanters