A Cognac from 1777 Will Go Up for Auction This Weekend
Featuring bottles from 1777, 1802, 1812, 1906, and 1914, the auction is expected to bring in over $135,000.
You may never be able to see what the world was like during the Revolutionary War, but if you have enough money, here's your chance to taste the year 1777.
This Sunday, the London-based online spirits retailer Whisky.Auction will open bidding on five extremely rare bottles of Cognac—and though all the vintages are strikingly old, including 1914, 1906, 1812, and 1802—the "jewel of the collection" was produced with grapes harvested over 200 years ago in 1777.
All five bottles originally came from the private collection of Jacques Hardy, a member of the Hardy family who founded their maison in Cognac in 1863. And all the bottles are being sold with certificates of authenticity penned by Jacques, who ran the family company until 1999 and passed away in 2005.
With such a pedigree, Whisky.Auction is confident whoever purchases these Cognac is getting more than just a bottle with a really old date printed on it.
The 1777 vintage, in particular, is billed as "one of the finest Cognacs ever bottled," aged in an oak barrel for around 100 years, then moved into a demijohn before being bottled far more recently in 1936 (and then re-bottled in 1967). "I am pleased to have tried this around 10 years ago when it was available at The Lanesborough Hotel in London," Cognac expert, collector, and Whisky.Auction consultant Sukhinder Singh stated in the announcement. "What a privilege it was to taste such old liquid that was still fresh and full of life with the lingering rancio flavour that you find in pre-phylloxera Cognac."
With possibly as few as a half-dozen bottles remaining, the winning bidder may not want to open this Cognac. But if they do, Jacques himself even provided the tasting notes on the certificate of authenticity, writing, "Despite its importance, in your glass, this Cognac will show its aroma of a smooth bouquet and of the blossoms of vine flowers in June in Charente."
Meanwhile, despite not starting with a "17," the other vintages are also remarkable in their own right. The 1906 Cognac is billed as Jacques' "favorite of all the vintages he had tried in his lifetime" sourced from a single cru, from a single vine grower and single distiller. The 1812 vintage and 1914 vintage both have historical significance: Napoleon invading Russia and the start of World War I, respectively. And the 1802 vintage is said to simply offer "great fineness," highlighting pre-phylloxera Folle Blanche and Colombard grapes.
The auction will run for ten days and end on February 9. Whisky.Auction's Old & Rare experts estimate that the collection as a whole will sell for over £100,000 (about $135,000). For comparison, back in May, a bottle of Gautier Cognac 1762 set an auction record by selling for $144,525. Links to the five lots can be found here.