M Restaurant has announced that it is to sell its bottle of 1894 cognac for over £6000 for a 25ml shot - that's the price of cognac history. The bottle is reputedly the first blend ever produced by Jean Fillioux, who founded the Fillioux cognac house. Snippets of history such as this are often priceless in the cognac world. Over the years we have sold many such historically important bottles to luxury hotels in London. The ultimate in super-premium spirits, these too have been sold by the measure for thousands of pounds. But to command this sort of price tag, each must have a story attached. Many were produced in the pre-Phylloxera era (pre 1875), when cognac production was considerably different from today, and produced by old family firms that may no longer be in existence. The vintage may also be attached to an event in history, such as the beginning of the French revolution in 1789, which adds to its interest and value. Selling very old cognac is a proven way of increasing bar takings but beware, establishing authenticity is a specialist business; we have been undertaking it for decades.
The Phylloxera louse decimated vineyards across Europe in the late 1800s by attacking the roots of the vines. Many wine and cognac producers lost their livelihoods as a result. Keeping vines Phylloxera free is therefore vital to the survival of the industry so this latest announcement from Melbourne University is extremely exciting. Scientists are researching the effectiveness of sniffer dogs in detecting the existence of the louse in the initial stages. Dogs already trained as ‘sniffers’ can easily be taught to detect other scents and it is hoped that this will extend to early stage Phylloxera at depths of up to a metre below soil level. We have a number of Very Old Cognacs produced in the pre-Phylloxera era when Folle Blanche was the most commonly used vine.
Read more news from the cognac industry here.