Airport Boutique One Of Only Two Locations In The World To Sell L’Or de Jean Martell
Over the past few years, despite a decline in sales (and interest in) cognac in Europe, North America and Russia, cognac sales in China have soared, with the country surpassing the U.S. to become Hennissey’s top market in 2008 and sales there expected to see double-digit growth in coming years as more inland drinkers switch from baijiu to foreign spirits. Naturally, the popularity of high-end cognac in China has enticed companies like LVMH Moet Hennissey and rival Martell to ply their rarest and most expensive wares there — a strategy that paid off last summer for Martell. As Bloomberg wrote last summer, even in the midst of the global economic crisis, Martell’s $3,600-per-bottle L’Or cognac sold out in China, and waiting lists for upcoming vintages are packed with Chinese buyers.
Martell looks to be returning the favor, as the company unveiled its first “Martell Experience Boutique” at the Hong Kong International Airport this weekend. The boutique, located in HKIA’s terminal one arrivals zone, is designed to eschew the standard duty free model to actively showcase Martell’s history, image, and products and reflect what the CEO of Sky Connection (Martell’s boutique partner) Baker Salleh called “the epitome of a luxury boutique.” As such, the “Experience Boutique” is much more than a retail outlet, it’s a full-featured brand showcase.
The new boutique incorporates Martell’s signature blue and gold hues, a design cue that’s particularly visible in the four pillars at the entrance, which highlight the company’s premium products: Martell VSOP Medallion, the Martell Création Grand Extra Cognac, the Martell Extra Old XO Cognac, and the Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old Cognac. However, the indisputable focal point of the boutique is Martell’s L’Or de Jean Martell. This rare cognac, which is only available at the Experience Boutique in Hong Kong and in Cognac, France, will retail at HK$23,800 (US$3,065) per bottle, and we can expect to see a run on these bottles similar to the one we saw last year for the US$3,600 L’Or.
In addition to the cognac on the shelves, one of the boutique’s most unique features is the Martell Discovery Table, which is designed as an educational resource for potential buyers who want to learn more about cognac appreciation. The Discovery Table allows customers to experience the brand’s “sensory universe” by introducing them to the tasting notes for each of Martell’s cognacs, and displays the 33 blends of euax-de-vie (or montres in French) in different shades of gold illuminated by blue floor tiles below. As Luxury Insider noted, visitors to the Experience Boutique can learn more about each Martell Cognac, production methods and the brand’s history through videos. In addition, Martell ‘Brand Attaches’ will be on-hand to help travelers choose the right bottle for their tastes.
As Martell & Co Brand Director Stéphanie Durroux told The Moodie Report, the look and feel of the Experience Boutique is meant to evoke the company’s new visual style, which it will roll out globally in upcoming campaigns:
The idea was really to develop a new visual style that will be consistent overall for the Martell brand, so that we could express what Martell is all about, and to make sure that throughout the world and in different expressions, even if the execution varies from one place to another people still get the same feeling at the end about the Martell brand.
The Martell Experience Boutique takes up around one-third of the 130 sq. meter premium duty free outlet, with another third dedicated to other fine spirits not in the Pernod Ricard portfolio, including gins like Bombay Sapphire and scotch by distilleries such as Glenfiddich. The remaining third includes a cigar section and a considerable selection of wines.