Martini Gran Lusso has been in the making for more than eight years and is limited to 150,000 bottles worldwide.
Developed by master herbalist Ivano Tonutti and master blender Giuseppe Musso, it used Barbera red wine from the Piedmont region of northern Italy and Trebbiano white wine from neighbouring Emilia-Romagna.
Added to this are two unique extracts. One is made from Moscato must from Canelli previously aged in wood barrels, inspired by an historical vermouth recipe.
The other extract is being kept secret. It is the recreation of a 1904 recipe, known only as “extract 94”, and is the first botanical extract to rest in small demijohns for eight years. A single batch was created to be the heart of Gran Lusso, which means “great luxury”.
The aromatically herbal and cleansing bitter notes fill the mouth with a distinct complexity. The honey softness of the aged Moscato provides a sweet taste. With hints of lavender and rose, the softness of the Barbera grape provides a unique smoothness to the drink.
The Gran Lusso “sweet-bitter” taste can be enjoyed simply over ice with a slice of grapefruit peel to garnish. It is also recommended for vintage cocktails such as the Martinez, Rob Roy and El Presidente.
Tonutti said: “We have really enjoyed hand-selecting the botanicals for Gran Lusso and experimenting with new techniques to create one-off extracts. Gran Lusso has a very unique taste and flavour and we are all very proud of the finished product.
“It makes me proud as an Italian to work on the iconic brand of Martini, particularly as we celebrate the 150th anniversary. It has been a joy to create Gran Lusso, to be a part of creating something uniquely Italian and for such a special occasion.”
Musso added: “For me, Gran Lusso represents the very best of Italy. We have blended together two of Italy’s most known grape varieties – Trebbiano and Barbera – and the result is completely new and unique.”