Martell unveils first Cognac Experience Boutique at HKIA
Source: ©The Moodie Report
By Melody Ng in Hong Kong
Pernod Ricard unveiled the Martell Experience Boutique at Hong Kong Airport’s T1 Arrivals zone
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) yesterday opened the first-ever Martell Experience Boutique, designed to offer passengers a "unique sensory experience". The Moodie Report was on hand to witness the opening.
Operated by HKIA liquor and tobacco concessionaire Sky Connection, the new boutique aims to reinforce the brand’s heritage and prestige, Martell brand owner Pernod Ricard said.
The 130sq m outlet in HKIA’s Terminal 1 Arrivals zone lies opposite Sky Connection’s Free Duty liquor and tobacco duty free shop. Guests of honour included senior management from Pernod Ricard, such as Pernod Ricard Chairman and CEO Patrick Ricard and Pernod Ricard Asia Chairman and CEO Pierre Coppéré, as well as management of Martell and Airport Authority Hong Kong.
(Clockwise from top left) Sky Connection CEO Baker Salleh, Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free Managing Director Thibaut de Poutier, and Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët Chairman and CEO Lionel Breton speaking at the official opening ceremony
Speaking at the ceremony, Sky Connection CEO Baker Salleh said: “What you see here today is actually the cooperation and culmination of a very successful and visionary investment in terms of duty free shops. As you can see across the way, there’s a very standard duty free shop [Free Duty] where we try to cater to the maximum number of passengers, but on this side you see the epitome of a luxury boutique.
“We are very honoured for the chance to have the first Martell boutique in the world at Hong Kong International Airport. And we’d also like to thank everybody at Pernod Ricard and Martell for selecting Sky Connection as their partner in this wonderful boutique where they’ve invested a lot of their prestige. Martell has the highest reputation for producing the best Cognac anywhere, and they are recognised as the leader. For Martell to trust us, to open a boutique of this stature bearing their name, is really a compliment.”
The Martell Experience Boutique is expected to be a draw for arriving Chinese travellers, which Martell counts among its biggest customers. “Asia is the number one market in terms of value for Cognac,” said Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free Managing Director Thibaut de Poutier, who added that the average Chinese consumer has become more of a connoisseur, underlining the importance for Martell to differentiate itself. “They want to understand the brand, the history and the heritage, and that’s what we tried to achieve with this new Martell Experience Boutique.”
“Hong Kong is one of the busiest Asian airports; the boutique, located in the T1 Arrivals zone is an ideal showcase to convey Martell’s brand image and create strong appeal to our Cognacs,” de Poutier added.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was officiated by (second from left) Pernod Ricard Asia Chairman and CEO Pierre Coppéré, Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët Chairman and CEO Lionel Breton, Airport Authority Hong Kong Deputy General Manager, Retail & Advertising Christina Cheng, Sky Connection CEO Baker Salleh, General Manager of the China Development and Industry and Government Affairs Eva Tsang, Pernod Ricard Chairman and CEO Patrick Ricard, and Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free Managing Director Thibaut de Poutier; the group is also pictured below
Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët Chairman and CEO Lionel Breton described the exclusive concept, which will be rolled out to more locations in due course, as “an incredibly exciting opportunity”.
Elaborating on the luxury concept, Breton said: “Sky Connection gave Martell the opportunity to show what luxury is in the wine and spirits business. It’s the first time we’ve ever offered this kind of experience in the world, not only to show the product but to experience the product.
“Through this Martell dedicated space in duty free we want our consumers to enter a world of luxury and exclusiveness and we believe we have created the perfect arena for travellers to do this,” Breton enthused.
An intimate gala dinner was held after the opening ceremony at Hullett House in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
A special five-course menu was created to be paired with Martell’s finest products
Pernod Ricard Chairman and CEO Patrick Ricard makes a special appearance with a welcome speech to invited guests
A journey of discovery
Partnership principles: (L-R) Sky Connection Merchandising & Buying Director Simon Au, Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free Commercial Director Patrick Castanier, Sky Connection General Manager - Airport and Ferry Terminals Duty Free Shops Bernardo Souza, and Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët Commercial Director Jean-Etienne Gourgues
The new boutique incorporates stylish wall units and warm lighting, designed to evoke an intimate, authentic atmosphere in which to display Martell’s range.
Signature hues of vivid blue and textured warm gold are used throughout, especially apparent in the four pillar showcases that line the entrance. These pillars each highlight one premium product: the Martell VSOP Medallion, the Martell Création Grand Extra Cognac, the Martell Extra Old XO Cognac, and the Martell Cordon Bleu Extra Old Cognac.
The L’Or de Jean Martell, described as “the quintessence of the Martell house”, takes centre stage in a display lit up with dozens of lights. Recently awarded the Gold Medal in the Superior Category in the Cognac Masters, L’Or de Jean Martell is retailing at Free Duty for HK$23,800 per bottle.
The focal point is the Martell Discovery Table, where consumers can experience the brand’s sensory universe through the tasting notes for each Martell different Cognac, as well as the blends of eaux-de-vie displayed in the centre
Visitors can also learn about each Cognac, production methods and the brand’s history at the Martell Discovery Table
The Martell Experience Boutique is one of only two places in the world to obtain a bottle of L’Or de Jean Martell, according to Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët Commercial Director Jean-Etienne Gourgues (the other location being Cognac, France, itself). Customers who buy a bottle of L’Or de Jean Martell is entitled to a personal engraving on the decanter with the recipient name or message of their choice.
The focal point of the boutique, however, is the Martell Discovery Table, where consumers can experience the brand’s sensory universe through the tasting notes for each Martell different Cognac, as well as the blends of eaux-de-vie (called montres
in French) displayed in the centre. Housed in 33 different bottles of varying shades of yellow and gold, these blends form a striking centre piece, highlighted by the strip of glittering blue floor tiles below.
Visitors can discover 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 travellers.
The Martell Experience Boutique provides the first platform for the brand to introduce its new visual style which will reflect its contemporary luxury Cognac brand status while staying true to the brand's heritage and personality, Pernod Ricard said. The new look and feel will be used in all global below-the-line communications.
Hues of blue and textured warm gold are used throughout, especially apparent in the four pillar showcases that line the entrance. Each of these highlight one premium product, including the Martell Création Grand Extra Cognac (below left)
(Right) The L’Or de Jean Martell, described as “the quintessence of the Martell house”, takes centre stage in a lit display
(L-R) The Martell Cordon Bleu, the Martell Création Grand Extra Cognac and the Martell Extra Old XO Cognac
Martell & Co Brand Director Stéphanie Durroux explained to The Moodie Report: “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 occupies about one-third of the 130sq m Free Duty store. Another third of the floor space is dedicated to fine and rare liquor products not only in the Pernod Ricard portfolio, such as Bacardi-owned Bombay Sapphire and Glenfiddich (owned by William Grant & Sons). The remaining area comprises a small cigar offering and a broad selection of wines.
The Martell Experience Boutique will be featured in HKIA for three years, and Martell proposes to roll out the concept in other travel retail outlets in due course.
The Martell Experience Boutique occupies about one-third of the 130sq m Free Duty store; the remaining floor space is dedicated to other fine and rare liquor products, as well as a small cigar offering and a selection of wines
Founded in 1715, Martell is the oldest of the major Cognac houses, and a leading brand name in the XO category.