Wine & Dine

Martell XO Gives You Wings


With the weekend upon us and drinks on the cards, take a gander at this avian-inspired film by the House of Martell, a stirring short that draws upon the apocryphal tale of a swift’s role in leading Jean Martell to the region of Cognac, way back in 1715. At only 21, led to an unfamiliar place by the urgings of a single bird, the young man founded what would become the oldest of the great Cognac manufactures.

Lensed by “Two Lovers” director James Gray, the “Rise Above” campaign makes poignant use of that stylized bird you see embossed on all of Martell’s bottles.

A potent, soaring symbol of freedom and great expectations, this film is really quite beautiful indeed, revolving around four protagonists—an author, a orator, a sculptor and a conductor—who, in their greatest moments of doubt, muster up that je ne sais quoi we all have within us. A bespoke soundtrack (performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and mixed by Oscar-winning sound engineer Etienne Colin) reaches a crescendo, there is a dramatic pause…and scores of swirling, freewheeling swifts explode like feathered dream missives into the sky.

“While we all have the capacity to go higher in life, few of us have the vision and courage to really take off. Martell XO celebrates those who do take off, achieving remarkable, memorable things in life and inspiring the world around them,” said brand owner Pernod Ricard. “As Salvador Dali once put it, ‘Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings’.” Amen—and a toast!—to that.