Very Old Cognac

The dreaded Phylloxera vastatrix louse, a tiny yellow mite which feasts off the roots of vines became prevalent around 1872-4, destroying not just the cognac vines but those all across Europe. Before the Phylloxera most of the vines were the Folle (Folle Blanche), but after much work in America a resistant variety of root was discovered to which the Ugni Blanc, a bland non descriptive, acidic grape variety was grafted onto. Cognacs made in the 18th and early 19th centuries usually exhibited drier and more organic flavours as a result of not just the grape variety but also the different distiller’s methods of distillation and ageing.

There are of course many rare and sought after vintages. In the UK we tend to look for specific ages such as 1805, famous for the Battle of Trafalgar and 1815 for the Battle of Waterloo. The Russians and French celebrate the Battle of Borodino in 1812, both sides claim victory and probably the Americans might celebrate the American Revolution at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Whatever the vintage of these old cognacs, one thing is certain, the older and rarer they become, the more expensive they are. Some very rare cognac bottles are today approaching £100,000 or more, and the less of them that are available the more expensive they will become.

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  1. Albert Robin Cognac Soda 1935

    Albert Robin Cognac Soda 1935

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £366.67 Incl. VAT: £440.00

    Albert Robin was a 19th century negoҫiant. Between the wars, cognac was found to be a suitable mix with soda and this cognac was sold for just that purpose. It is in an interesting shaped bottle with a black label. We believe that it was probably only about 10 - 12 years old when bottled as that was a typical age for young cognacs at the time. Learn More
  2. Cognac Camus and Soda

    Cognac Camus and Soda

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £516.67 Incl. VAT: £620.00

    Camus was founded in 1863 by Jean-Baptist Camus and was once the 5th largest cognac house. The firm depended mainly on sales to the Russian Czars. In the 1960s the owner was the only Cognaҫaise who was prepared to offer credit to a group of Americans who set up a firm called Duty Free Shoppers. Today that firm is in nearly every airport shop in the world and they have remained loyal to Camus. This cognac was made during the war years to try and get people to buy more cognac and mix it with soda. It was never a success but the bottle is unique and a fine example. Learn More
  3. Grande Fine Champagne 1893

    Grande Fine Champagne 1893

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £3,116.67 Incl. VAT: £3,740.00

    The period between around 1875 and 1895 produced some of the best cognacs as distillers and cellar masters' knowledge had developed a good understanding of their art. Coupled with this, there is still a reasonable quantity available to be objective when tasting. This cognac comes in a handmade bottle, thought to contain 90 cl and is believed to be of a very good quality. Learn More
  4. Martell Cognac 1877

    Martell Cognac 1877

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £5,025.00 Incl. VAT: £6,030.00

    Martell, like the other big firms are negoçiants and buy their cognacs from the growers in the region. Many of the grapes for Martell cognacs come from the region to the north of Cognac which we today call the Borderies. This bottle has been stored in cellars that were slightly damp. The label has deteriorated badly but we have a sale label which confirms the vintage. Learn More
  5. Le Burguet 1865

    Le Burguet 1865

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £5,525.00 Incl. VAT: £6,630.00

    The Le Burguet cellars were owned by Alexandre Guignot and his partner Alexandre Petit and were located close to the town of Cognac. The cognacs from this region have quite a rich, nutty flavour. This rare and valuable find is a splendid example of one of the earliest we have found from this area, which is today known as Borderies. We believe that there may be another 9 of these bottles available but at present we only have two in our stock. Learn More
  6. Petite Champagne 1847 Cognac

    Petite Champagne 1847 Cognac

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £6,758.33 Incl. VAT: £8,110.00

    Out of stock

    This cognac came from an estate near Eculat on what is now the borders of Petite Champagne and Fins Bois. It was well aged in oak and the bottles were stored in a cellar belonging to a family who eventually sold all their stocks. This is one of the last remaining bottles and is thought to contain 80 cl. Its label is worn but the date is still visible.

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  7. René Niel 1854

    René Niel 1854

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £7,275.00 Incl. VAT: £8,730.00

    René Niel was a small negoçiant. Before 1856 cognac producers were not allowed to use their own labels so had to sell their cognac through negoçiants. We know very little about this cognac other than to say that we have been fortunate in having tasted a small sample previously and were most impressed with it. The bottle and label are in good condition.

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  8. Nicholson 1858

    Nicholson 1858

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £8,758.33 Incl. VAT: £10,510.00

    Nicholson was a small negoçiant. Before 1856 cognac producers were not allowed to use their own labels so had to sell their cognac through negoçiants. The vintage of this cognac is actually in the glass neck of the bottle, the label is in good condition and it is thought to contain 80 cl. This is a fine example of pre-phylloxera cognac, we have tasted similar to this and believe it to be of the very highest quality. Learn More
  9. Cognac Harrods 1842

    Cognac Harrods 1842

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £9,258.33 Incl. VAT: £11,110.00

    This rare and interesting cognac was labelled with the famous Knightsbridge store label. The cognac originated from the Grande Champagne region and was one of a number of vintage bottles discovered in a cellar belonging to a family who ceased making cognac around 1950. We have not seen a similar bottle to this and believe it to be very rare. This bottle is in excellent condition and contains about 90cl. The cognac from this period was produced from the Folle grape variety and was usually distilled on the farms where it was grown. Learn More
  10. Duret Cognac 1810

    Duret Cognac 1810

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £9,525.00 Incl. VAT: £11,430.00

    This cognac probably originates from an old cask, reputedly from a French Naval ship in the early 1800s. It would have been aged in cellars by the negoçiant James Duret, around the town of Jarnac, and bottled at a later date. The firm merged with another firm called Louis Royer but they, in later years, became involved with another, much bigger name. Although the cognac would have been produced in the region, ageing at that time was not controlled and other flavours could be introduced from the cask. This cognac is an outstanding example of one made from the Folle grape. Learn More
  11. Carnot Cognac 1848

    Carnot Cognac 1848

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £11,291.67 Incl. VAT: £13,550.00

    There is very little information about Carnot Cognac but having been taken over by A E Dor, the Carnot Cognac label continued to be used for some of their very old cognacs. This unique, old bottle is thought to contain 80cl. Learn More
  12. Jules Robin 1789 Cognac

    Jules Robin 1789 Cognac

    Price:
    Excl. VAT: £26,250.00 Incl. VAT: £31,500.00

    Although sold through the negoçiant, Jules Robin, this cognac was made by a small distiller whose family name was Barraud. Their distillery was just south of the village of Ruillac, a small town north east of Cognac. M Barraud, we understand, started distilling before 1770 and the estate, which was split amongst family members several times, appears to have finished making cognac around the time of the phylloxera outbreak. This 1789 cognac was given to a local family who passed it down through the generations. It is a remarkable example of family experience and understanding of old cognacs. We believe that it was stored in oak for more than 70 years before being transferred to glass as we can taste the extremely distinctive rich, but dry, rancio. We suspect that it would have been stored in large storage jars or bonbonnes, which were well sealed to prevent any deterioration of the cognac, for possibly another 70 years before being bottled. Remarkably, this cognac has many quite complex flavours and with a strength of 43.6%, we can be confident that it has been kept properly. This is an unbelievably good cognac, almost certainly the finest we have ever tasted of such an old age.

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