Yahoo - Auctioneers Sotheby's said on Thursday that an "exceedingly rare" bottle of Cognac preserved since the end of the 19th century had set a new auction sales price record.
The bottle of Gautier Cognac 1762 fetched £118,580 ($144,525, 132,000 euros) in an online sale, according to Sotheby's.
"Only three bottles of this exceedingly rare Cognac remain to this day, having been held in the same family for generations with their original labels attached," it said in a statement.
"This was the last and largest of these remaining bottles."
The cognac, bought by an Asian private collector, was known as "Grand Frère" -- or the "Big Brother" -- of the trio, the auction house added.
Its little sister is housed in the museum of the French cognac distillery Maison Gautier, while its little brother was sold at auction in New York in 2014.
It revealed the bottle had been given to the seller's great grandparents by an orphan they had fostered called Alphonse.
He had left his adopted family in the 1870s to work in the Cognac region, and returned home a decade later with a cart loaded with bottles of Cognac.
Most were soiled, but amongst them were the three Maison Gautier Cognacs, with their labels in pristine condition, according to Sotheby's.
It noted Alphonse subsequently fought in WWI in 1914 and never returned.
"This should still be drinkable," Jonny Fowle, spirits specialist at Sotheby's told The Times newspaper.
"High-ABV (alcohol by volume) liquids like this preserve themselves very well, although I would expect there to be discernible OBE -- this stands for old bottle effect, which is how we describe the development of spirits over time.
"Sometimes this can impart very pleasant tropical notes, and at other times less appealing porridgy notes."
Let's get down to business here. A wealthy Asian man bought this bottle of cognac that looks like shit in an online auction for $150,000. In the grand scheme of things the Yen is extremely weak vs. the US dollar right now. So weak that if this man was in fact Japanese (speculation, as the whiskey and cognac market in Japan is BOOMING today) he would have paid 15,567,105 JPY for this thing.
And that's before we get into the origin of this bottle.
Pretty convenient story it's owner has here.
"A mysterious French orphan (PC term for Gypsy) named Alphonse shows up out of nowhere one day with a cart full of cognac... (hole #1)
Alphonse then goes and fights in WWI (he's French remember, that's hole #2) and then is never heard from again...
The family then sits on these bottles for 106 years?
Smells fishy to me.
But I could care less. For a number of reasons.
1- "This SHOULD still be drinkable." the Sotheby's specialist claims. There's a good chance this guy just paid $150,000 for something he can't even drink. If his plan is to keep the bottle to show off for decoration then who cares. But if you got your paws on this, cracked it open, and it tasted like piss that's a pretty expensive regret.
2- People should spend their money on whatever makes them happy. If that's a 150,000 dollar skeptical bottle of French liquor than by all means knock yourself out amigo.
3- Confession. My palate sucks. Not when it comes to food. I'm good on that. But when it comes to wine, fine liquors, or anything refined or snooty I'm clueless. You could hand me a glass of vinegar and tell me it's a rare vintage and I wouldn't know the difference. Spoiled? Yah I can taste those. But a $5 bottle is just as good to me as a $200 bottle. Maybe it's because I grew up drinking Carlo Rossi? Who knows. So if there actually is a difference that's discernable between a 10-year-old cognac and a 100-year-old cognac and that's your poison, AND you have the scratch then good for you. Enjoy the hell out of that bottle. Every last drop.
4- The last reason I don't care is there's always a strong possibility that its bullshit. As in a fake. One of the best stories and documentaries I've read/seen over the last few years was the "Sour Grapes" story.
If you're not familiar with it it goes like this- this dirtbag from Indonesia named Rudy Kurniawan was a big wino. He knew his shit, all the lingo, all the ratings, blah blah blah. He was also in with the upper-echelon wine crowd. He got this idea that if he collected really old empty bottles (that either he drank, or others had and were getting rid of) he could fill them with shit wine, re-cork, re-label them, and then resell them. And that nobody would know the difference. And the best part? Nobody did know the difference.
He auctioned off a shit load of "Burgundy's" that were supposedly extremely old and rare, but in actuality were fake, for what amounted to $44 Million dollars. The only way he got caught was when a historian pointed out that bottles old Rudy boy claimed were from Saint-Denis in the 1940's actually weren't produced until the 1980's. Major fuck up. That set off a huge investigation and his house of cards went to hell. If only he googled his shit, he might have been in the clear laughing at the schmucks all the way to the bank.
But it just went to prove that all these wine snobs who rub all that mumbo jumbo in your face about "tannins" and the difference between the nose, the bouquet, and the aroma are full of shit. You had "experts" from all around the world paying millions of dollars for household wine and cumming everywhere because of the placebo effect.
Let's hope that didn't happen here with our Japanese friend and his cognac.
"Sour Grapes" though, pretty good doc. Worth the watch - and the read.