A type of brandy made from distilled white wine, cognac is made in the commune of Cognac, France. It is essentially a high-end drink that’s sipped on relaxingly after dinner. But exactly how high-end is too high-end for a bottle of the world’s oldest vintage cognac?
Whiskies and scotches bag the topmost spot at any alcohol auction around the world but when it comes to a bottle of an exceedingly rare bottle of cognac, that’s not only the world’s oldest, but also historically significant, it can give all other spirits a run for the money. A bottle of Gautier Cognac 1762 was sold at Sotheby’s for a whopping $144,525 (HKD 956000) to an Asian bidder, making it the most expensive bottle of cognac ever sold. But what makes this bottle so expensive? Let’s find out in this edition of ‘Why is it expensive’.
A bottle of 1762 Gautier Cognac sold for HKD 956000
At 260 years old, the 1762 Gautier Cognac is the last and largest of just three bottles of this rare spirit to still exist till date, all of which still have their original labels. Distilled three decades before the French Revolution, this bottle of cognac was produced in a momentous year – during the reign of King Louis XV of France.
Sotheby’s stated, “The year 1762 is notable for a number of historic events, not least Britain entering the Seven Years’ War against Spain and Naples, Catherine II becoming empress of Russia, and the first Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City.”
This one, along with the other two bottles in this series, were all previously owned by the same family for generations, who kept the original labels attached. It’s believed that this cognac was not bottled until the 1840s.
Jonny Fowle, the Spirits Specialist at Sotheby’s said, “The Gautier 1762 is renowned and revered across the world as a Cognac that transcends the world of spirits collecting. This bottle represents not only an example of pre-phylloxera viticulture, but also of early cask maturation from the dawn of Gautier’s production and even precedes the French Revolution. This bottle contains a distillation not only of superb brandy, but also of Cognac’s history.”
The other two bottles of this series, little sister (petite soeur) is housed in the Gautier Museum, and the little brother (petit frère) was sold at auction in New York in 2014.
All Images: Courtesy Sotheby’s