Interview: Damien Batteux for Martell
Flying into town to promote Martell Chanteloup Perspective last October, Damien Batteux talks the Chinese market, the biggest challenge for Martell and his perfect serve
Damien Batteux - "People know they are entering the world of luxury when they are in the company of – so to speak – Martell"
The brainchild of cellar master Benoit Fil, Martell Chanteloup Perspective comprises eaux de vie from the regions of Grande and Petite Champagne, the Fins Bois and the Borderies.
While Grande and Petite Champagne provide power and structure, the smoothness and light, fruity aromas are courtesy of the Fins Bois. The Borderies, a specific cru within a unique terroir, provides the dark amber elixir with the House’s signature sweet and spicy notes.
The name is derived from the Chanteloup estate, where the prestige range is aged and bottled.
The USD300 (roughly) liquid is housed within an embellished arch-shaped decanter which takes inspiration from an iron gate that guards a secret cellar within the Chanteloup estate. A brush-finished silvered gift box, embossed with a single M, further highlights its upscale credentials.
Martell Chanteloup Perspective is said to open with fresh stone-fruit aromas such as apricot, followed by figs, orange and lemon. Dried fruits such as raisins combine with nuts and gingerbread notes to round off the experience on the nose. The palate, at first soft and light, soon develops into rich candied- and dried-fruit notes. There is also a subtle hint of blackcurrant. Wait for the long and spicy finish.
We talk to the charismatic Damien Batteux, Regional Director of Martell for China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam, when he was in town to promote the Martell Chanteloup Perspective last October.
How did you get into the world of cognac?
Well I first started out in the wine business – something that I’m still passionate about. I joined Martell six years ago, after having lived in China for a year. Cognac is a beautiful expression of wines and Martell is a fascinating brand!
What does your position at Martell entail?
As regional director, I am one of the spokesmen for the brand’s sales and marketing strategies. Simply put, I must keep my eyes and ears peeled at all times to understand the specificities of each market.
In terms of taste, how is it different from, say the XO and Cordon Bleu?
As an Extra quality cognac, the Martell Chanteloup Perspective has a longer aftertaste than the Cordon Bleu and (regular) Extra Old (XO). Benoit Fil specifically selected older eaux de vies from Borderies and Grande Champagne. It is also smoother and more delicate.
What is your biggest market?
We have several important markets worldwide but China is definitely a major one, as Martell is the first imported spirit brand here. We sold a million 9-litre cases in 2012.
Do you see a difference in consumption patterns between Asian and Western cognac drinkers?
In Asia, people treat cognac as something they can enjoy immediately, as well as something they could invest in. In Europe or North American, enjoyment is the main concern.
How has people’s perception of cognac evolved over the years?
Cognac has truly entered the world of luxury products; people know they are entering the world of luxury when they are in the company of – so to speak – Martell.
What is the biggest challenge for Martell at the moment?
As a dynamic brand within a dynamic category, our number one challenge is growth.
How do you take your cognac? Is there a wrong way to drink cognac?
I love it with a single drop of water to calm down the strength and let the fine aromas express themselves. There are only good ways of drinking Martell as long as you drink it responsibly.