Martell Bottle Catalog PART 1: standard range bottles and vintages
(966 standard bottles and vintages; but still not complete. Last updated: Mar 29, 2020)
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.
– 1a. Cognaçaises
– 1b. Three stars flasks and Dry Pale flasks
– 1c. ‘Bat’-labels (stars, stars-vs, vs and flasks)
– 1d. Paillarde type bottles (stars, stars-vs and vs)
– 1e. Paillarde type bottles with modern swift
– 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 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 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 red label
—– 3g1. VSOP-Médaillon red label and red cap
—– 3g2. VSOP-Médaillon red label and blue cap
—– 3g3. VSOP-Médaillon green label
– 3h. 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 and Martell in white on a blue band
1. Stars, Dry Pale, stars-VS and VS
Some features to determine the age of the three star bottles:
– label with Martell name above the main label appeared from 1928 on.
– spring caps where in use from 1933 – 1967; before 1933: cork with foil caps. It seems that corks with foil caps have also been used around 1940-1945.
– after 1967: screw caps, but after 1968 corks again.
– shorter, wider bottles with ‘bat’-emblem from 1968.
– tapered bottles from 1980.
1a. Cognaçaise bottles
1a1. One or two stars or swallows on neck:
1a2. Three stars, no additional text box on bottom of label:
1a3. Three stars on neck. Under the main label is just one band with the standard text in French (after 1909):
1a4. Three stars on neck. Under the main label is just one band with the standard text in English:
1a5. Three stars on neck. Under the main label is NOT just the one band with the standard text:
1b. Three stars flasks and Dry Pale flasks
1b1. Dry Pale flasks (starting second half of the 1950s):
1b2. Three star flasks:
1c. ‘Bat’- labels (stars, vs-stars and vs)
1c1. Three stars in the middle of the neck blob (starting 1968, most have screw caps, some have corked caps):
1c2. An emblem in the neck blob with three stars below it (1970s):
1c3. Three stars and VS on neck label, broad bottles with a ‘bat’-label (ca. 1970s):
1c5. Bottles without an age qualification:
1d. Paillarde type bottles (stars, vs-stars and vs)
1d1. Three stars on neck label:
1d2. Three stars and VS on neck label (ca. 1980s):
below: appellation cognac controlée:
1 Litre printed on the neck:
1d3. VS on neck label:
1e. Paillarde type bottles with modern swift
1e1. *V*S* in gold on the label:
1e2. with emblem on the label and VS fine cognac on the shoulder:
1e3. with *V*S* in blue on the label:
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
3d4. VSOP-Médallion Fine Champagne Liqueur Brandy, white labels (notice use of English word ‘medallion’):
3e. VSOP-Médaillon, 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:
3f. VSOP-Médaillon, black with gold labels paillarde bottles (from ca. 1975)
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, red label (late 1980s-1990s)
3g1. VSOP-Médaillon, red label red cap:
Frame with ‘old fine cognac’ attached to the emblem:
Liqueur cognac stated and ‘old fine cognac’ not attached to the emblem:
Frame with ‘old fine cognac’ not attached to the emblem:
3g2. VSOP-Médaillon, red label blue cap:
3g3. VSOP-Médaillon, green label:
3h. VSOP and VSOP-Medaillon flasks:
4. Noblige and Cordon Rubis
Cordon Rubis, old emblem:
Cordon Rubis, new emblem:
Noblige, old type bottle:
Noblige, new type bottle, shield with mallets:
Noblige, new emblem:
5. Napoléon Cordon Noir and Napoléon Special Reserve
6. Cordon Bleu
Some features to determine the age of Cordon Bleu bottles:
– Cordon Bleu started in 1922 (prerunners 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.
– 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.
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 countries)
a. with spring caps and the cordon riveted to the foil (1933-1960):
b. corked caps and no riveting, liqueur brandy (1960-1978):
c. corked caps and 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 Blue written in white letters on a blue background)
a. UK import, Cordon Bleu printed in blue letters; they all state ‘fine liqueur cognac brandy’:
6d. Ecru label, Cordon Bleu in blue letters (around 1974-1985)
6e. Ecru label, Cordon Bleu in golden letters on a dark blue rectangle (for US market around 1978-1985); also seen for Italian market
6f. Tapered bottles, dark labels (ca 1980-1990)
6g. Tapered bottles, cream coloured labels
6h. White label, Martell in white letters on a blue band (from early 1990s)
a. ‘old liquor cognac’, ‘grand classic cognac’ and ‘extra old cognac’:
b. ‘old classic cognac’:
6i. White label with straight upper edge; new swift (from 2018)
Several different escutcheons used on the labels:
7. Cordon Supreme and XO Cordon Supreme:
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):
10. Cordon Argent
11. Extra and Cordon Argent Extra