Martell’s new brand ambassador JeanBaptiste Gourvil shares his vision for the cognac house with justin ng
Tall, fiT and peppered with a dirty blond stubble – not exactly one has in mind of someone who once spent two years working in the beer industry in Czech Republic, the highest per-capita beer-consuming country in the world by far. But he is French and larks about throwing me out of the windows when I suggested that he could be more British than French because he grew up in Brittany. Jean-Baptiste Gourvil is Martell’s new brand ambassador to Malaysia.
Gourvil discovered his insatiable thirst for cognac after many a holiday at his grandparents’ house in a charming little village near Cognac. He was offered an easy choice to be posted to Malaysia – in spite of it being a country he “didn’t know too much about” prior to this – ahead of New Zealand, South Korea, China and Taiwan. “We think you are a great fit for Malaysia because you are confident, easy going and friendly,” he says of the management’s decision to ship him to Kuala Lumpur. Nonetheless, Malaysians of certain sects need no second invitation for a glass of Martell, an observation Gourvil has come to realise in his short time here. “Tell me about it,” he laughs.
wHicH martell cognac is your favourite?
I have to say it is Martell Cordon Bleu. Why Cordon Bleu? Because the drink is amazing, well balanced, boasts a high degree of complexity. You could be sitting around with a glass of Cordon Bleu and still be discussing the flavours of Cordon Bleu for the next 10-15 minutes.
A lot of people forget that Cordon Bleu is an XO. It is so smooth and rounded that they think it must be a VSOP. It is a lot older than a VSOP. The eaux-devie that make up Cordon Bleu range from 10 to 25 years old. It is a blend of more than 100 eauxde-vie. So it is very complex. In my opinion, it is an ambassador of French eaux-de-vie.
How will you be doing it ( tHe brand ambassador role) your way? Malaysians love Martell, which is really great. But they don’t always know what they are drinking. So this is my role to tell them: Great, you like t he product, but there is a history, identity and unique style i n this product. This (to educate) is going to be part of my main roles.
Apart from that, i n this twoyear period in Malaysia, I want to develop a Martell cognac cocktail scene. In the beginning of the 19th century, Martell was used a lot by bartenders. Now the trend is being revived i n France as bartenders use more and more Martell cognac in their cocktails. I would like to bring it here.