Given the rich history of Cognac, it’s no wonder that the oldest, rarest bottles can fetch some mind-boggling prices. The distinctive brandy from France revels in its own centuries-old tradition and limited production. Translation? There are a few vintage bottles out there that are going for nearly as much as a brand-new Porsche 911 Turbo.
Granted, there’s a fluidity about this list. Not all colossal sales of alcohol are easily traced and rumors abound of Cognacs going for upwards of $1 million. However, because these tall tales exist far away from the documentation that comes with formal auctions, it’s hard to really know. Others tout exorbitant price tags but have not yet sold. Regardless, the spirit can cause its most fervent collectors and enthusiasts to empty their yacht-sized wallets. Here are five of the most expensive bottles of Cognac ever sold. And whatever your price level, be sure to pair it with the best Cognac glasses to drink it the way it’s meant to be had.
The granddaddy of them all, this bottle went for well over $150K at auction in China in 2011. It’s the work of a lauded producer out of the Grande Champagne region of Cognac, which launched in 1805. It’s impressive to think that this bottle predates Phylloxera. Perhaps even cooler, it is believed to be what Eisenhower and Churchill enjoyed as they devised the victory of the joint allies in World War II.
Oh, Napoleon. The iconic French ruler loved all the expensive things from Champagne to this very Cognac. Part of the reason the price for this puppy blew open the roof is that it was the last remaining bottle out there. Apparently, French military officers would specifically request the work of Brugerolle, especially in the 18th-century, before it set up its still-standing shop in Matha, back in 1847.
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Unsurprisingly, one of the most expensive bottles of Cognac sold to date is also the oldest. At the time of sale, this ultra-luxurious offering was 258 years old. Perhaps more impressively, it went for $144,525. Just three of these almost-priceless bottles are believed to still be in existence, all wearing their original labels. What a thrill it would be to sip something that was crafted fourteen years before the U.S. was even a country. It’s practically a natural history artifact that you can drink.
This bottle of Louis XIII was sold in 2016 and comes in its own custom Hermes leather trunk, along with a crystal decanter. What’s in the bottle? A blend of the oldest eau du vie brandy at the time and allegedly tasted only by the cellar master. Like the Gautier, just three bottles are in orbit.
Related Reading: Cognac vs. Brandy: What’s the Difference?
Apparently, a handful of these have sold, with the price tag generally falling around $30,000. It seems like a big drop off from the four spots on the list but that’s mainly because of quantity. No matter, it comes in a metallic bottle you’d expect to find in an art gallery and the stuff inside is likely liquid gold. The Black Pearl Grande Champagne Cognac came about in 2007 as an extra-special release honoring some of the producer’s best and earliest offerings.
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