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Very Old Cognac

The term ‘cognac’ first became known in the early 16th Century.  It referred to wines that were reduced by distillation in order to preserve them and make them easier to transport.  In those days the distillers sold most of their cognac to buyers who blended and bottled the cognac and sold it under their own names.  The bottle labels are therefore of little significance when trying to establish where the cognac was made.   Today these buyers are known as negoçiants

Cognacs produced before the late nineteenth century are completely different from those produced afterwards.  An outbreak of the Phylloxera Vastatrix, a tiny yellow bug which feasts off the roots of vines, became prevalent around 1872-4.  It destroyed not just the cognac vines but all those across Europe. Before the Phylloxera outbreak, most of the cognac vines were Folle Blanche.  After much work in America, a Phylloxera-resistant variety of root was discovered.  To this, the Ugni Blanc (a bland non-descriptive, acidic grape) was grafted. This is the predominant cognac grape variety used today.  Although the Folle Blanche is still used in small quantities, the pre-Phylloxera flavour, which exhibits drier and more organic flavours, will never be reproduced again.

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, as both sides claim victory, and the Americans might celebrate the American Revolution at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Whatever the vintage of these very old cognacs, one thing is certain, the older and rarer they are, the more expensive they will become.  Some of our finest examples of pre-Phylloxera cognac have sold for more than £200,000 each.

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  1. Cognac Massougnes Vintage 1805 (Imperial ¾ gallon)
    Massougnes produced historically famous pre-phylloxera cognacs. We have dated their records back to 1730, making them the oldest firm of growers and sellers of brandies, they sold cognacs to Hennessey and many other famous houses including Augier and other correspondents of the period. The last remaining member of this remarkable family, who owned at their peak 360 hectares, is the Comtesse de la Bourdeliere. Had France not been a republic, she would have been their Queen. This is the last remaining bottle of 1805 from Massougnes and was made during the Battle of Trafalgar.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: A light hazel nut flavour with many complexities of nutty flavours combined with straw and grassy flavours and an array of herby and woody tones all mixed in with a lightness and freshness of the period.
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    Excl. VAT: £205,500.00 Incl. VAT: £246,600.00

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    Massougnes produced historically famous pre-phylloxera cognacs. We have dated their records back to 1730, making them the oldest firm of growers and sellers of brandies, they sold cognacs to Hennessey and many other famous houses including Augier and other correspondents of the period. The last remaining member of this remarkable family, who owned at their peak 360 hectares, is the Comtesse de la Bourdeliere. Had France not been a republic, she would have been their Queen. This is the last remaining bottle of 1805 from Massougnes and was made during the Battle of Trafalgar.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: A light hazel nut flavour with many complexities of nutty flavours combined with straw and grassy flavours and an array of herby and woody tones all mixed in with a lightness and freshness of the period.
    Learn More
  2. Hermitage Handmade Humidor with 1877 Cognac & Baccarat Decanter

    The Hermitage Humidor was made around the turn of the twenty first century by a craft furniture maker in the small market town of Bradford on Avon. It is made from Spanish cedar, the finest wood for keeping cigars in the best condition and burr walnut, a wood often used in the world’s most luxurious motor cars. The corners are finished with ebony stringing and the lid is secured by magnets and a golden coloured lock and key. A removable inner section houses two diamond-cut crystal brandy glasses and a Baccarat decanter and stopper. There is also a cigar tray which, when inverted, can be used to store the finest cigars in their best condition. This magnificent piece of furniture has a hygrometer in the lid and is hand finished with multiple wax polish layers. It measures 45 x 27.5 x 27cm.

    The firm of Baccarat has been making crystal glassware for more than 250 years and is the most highly regarded hand-blown crystal producer in France. It was established in 1765 by the Bishop of Metz who wanted to encourage industry in the small village of Baccarat, some 250 miles from Paris. Today, Baccarat Crystal can be found across the world and many of their earlier crystal creations are now regarded as priceless. This Harcourt Baccarat Crystal Decanter is extremely well suited to serving fine, old, luxury cognacs and it is filled with Martell 1877 Cognac. 

    Martell is the oldest of the great cognac houses. This 1877 vintage came to us in a bottle containing 75 cl and a badly deteriorated label. We have a sale label confirming it was distilled in 1877 and bottled in 1888. Further detailed information is available.

    The Hermitage Handmade Humidor with Baccarat Decanter, crystal glasses and Martell 1877 Cognac is DELIVERED FREE, worldwide.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: Many of the grapes for Martell cognacs come from the region to the north of Cognac, which today we call the Borderies, and give the cognac a nutty flavour.
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    Excl. VAT: £32,166.67 Incl. VAT: £38,600.00

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    The Hermitage Humidor was made around the turn of the twenty first century by a craft furniture maker in the small market town of Bradford on Avon. It is made from Spanish cedar, the finest wood for keeping cigars in the best condition and burr walnut, a wood often used in the world’s most luxurious motor cars. The corners are finished with ebony stringing and the lid is secured by magnets and a golden coloured lock and key. A removable inner section houses two diamond-cut crystal brandy glasses and a Baccarat decanter and stopper. There is also a cigar tray which, when inverted, can be used to store the finest cigars in their best condition. This magnificent piece of furniture has a hygrometer in the lid and is hand finished with multiple wax polish layers. It measures 45 x 27.5 x 27cm.

    The firm of Baccarat has been making crystal glassware for more than 250 years and is the most highly regarded hand-blown crystal producer in France. It was established in 1765 by the Bishop of Metz who wanted to encourage industry in the small village of Baccarat, some 250 miles from Paris. Today, Baccarat Crystal can be found across the world and many of their earlier crystal creations are now regarded as priceless. This Harcourt Baccarat Crystal Decanter is extremely well suited to serving fine, old, luxury cognacs and it is filled with Martell 1877 Cognac. 

    Martell is the oldest of the great cognac houses. This 1877 vintage came to us in a bottle containing 75 cl and a badly deteriorated label. We have a sale label confirming it was distilled in 1877 and bottled in 1888. Further detailed information is available.

    The Hermitage Handmade Humidor with Baccarat Decanter, crystal glasses and Martell 1877 Cognac is DELIVERED FREE, worldwide.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: Many of the grapes for Martell cognacs come from the region to the north of Cognac, which today we call the Borderies, and give the cognac a nutty flavour.
    Learn More
  3. Cognac 1888

    At one time, cognacs of this vintage were available but due to an increasing demand from China, this cognac has become unavailable. This is, as far as we know, the only remaining bottle of this rare vintage in the world.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £28,875.00 Incl. VAT: £34,650.00

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    At one time, cognacs of this vintage were available but due to an increasing demand from China, this cognac has become unavailable. This is, as far as we know, the only remaining bottle of this rare vintage in the world.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
  4. Jules Robin 1789 Cognac

    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.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Kumquats and walnuts are particularly noticeable on the nose
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Rich but dry rancio. Complex flavours of kumquats, green walnuts, tobacco and dark toast.
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    Excl. VAT: £26,250.00 Incl. VAT: £31,500.00

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    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.

    Aroma:
    Aroma: Kumquats and walnuts are particularly noticeable on the nose
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Rich but dry rancio. Complex flavours of kumquats, green walnuts, tobacco and dark toast.
    Learn More
  5. Cognac A Hardy Vintage 1805
    Perhaps one of the most famous names in old cognacs. There are few bottles of this cognac left. It was made during the Battle of Trafalgar and it is claimed that the name is connected with the famous Captain Hardy.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: It is sometimes difficult to taste every bottle of pre-phylloxera cognac as this would entail removing some from the bottle but we have tasted another of this vintage from this house and it was incredibly good
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £12,390.00 Incl. VAT: £14,868.00

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    Perhaps one of the most famous names in old cognacs. There are few bottles of this cognac left. It was made during the Battle of Trafalgar and it is claimed that the name is connected with the famous Captain Hardy.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: It is sometimes difficult to taste every bottle of pre-phylloxera cognac as this would entail removing some from the bottle but we have tasted another of this vintage from this house and it was incredibly good
    Learn More
  6. Cognac Jules Robin 1858

    The House of Jules Robin goes back to around 1760 when the firm started producing fine cognacs in the Charente and selling them around the area. The firm was sold to Martell in 1964 along with another famous name, Briand. The bottles are attractive with the vintage printed in the glass. These old bottles are hand made and the volumes vary, using our experience we estimate this one to be 80cl.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: A dried hazelnut, walnut and leather flavour consistent with cognacs of this period.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £12,266.67 Incl. VAT: £14,720.00

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    The House of Jules Robin goes back to around 1760 when the firm started producing fine cognacs in the Charente and selling them around the area. The firm was sold to Martell in 1964 along with another famous name, Briand. The bottles are attractive with the vintage printed in the glass. These old bottles are hand made and the volumes vary, using our experience we estimate this one to be 80cl.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: A dried hazelnut, walnut and leather flavour consistent with cognacs of this period.
    Learn More
  7. Carnot Cognac 1848
    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.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £11,291.67 Incl. VAT: £13,550.00

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    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.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
  8. Albert Jarraud 1827
    Albert Jarraud was acquired by A E Dor in the late 19th Century. A E Dor continued to use Albert Jarraud as a house name for some time as it had become associated with French high society. This is the only Albert Jarraud bottle we have seen of this vintage. It has a clear label with a bright red seal and is thought to contain 70 cl. These cognacs from their old estate at La Couronne are said to be some of the finest of the period.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £10,975.00 Incl. VAT: £13,170.00

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    Albert Jarraud was acquired by A E Dor in the late 19th Century. A E Dor continued to use Albert Jarraud as a house name for some time as it had become associated with French high society. This is the only Albert Jarraud bottle we have seen of this vintage. It has a clear label with a bright red seal and is thought to contain 70 cl. These cognacs from their old estate at La Couronne are said to be some of the finest of the period.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
  9. Dupuy Cognac 1807
    It is known that this cognac came from an old family firm near La Rochelle and was then sold by the negoçiant Dupuy, known for selling cognacs of the highest quality. This very old bottle is thought to contain 85cl.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £10,972.50 Incl. VAT: £13,167.00

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    It is known that this cognac came from an old family firm near La Rochelle and was then sold by the negoçiant Dupuy, known for selling cognacs of the highest quality. This very old bottle is thought to contain 85cl.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
  10. Duret Cognac 1810
    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.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £9,525.00 Incl. VAT: £11,430.00

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    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.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
  11. Cognac Harrods 1842
    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.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £9,258.33 Incl. VAT: £11,110.00

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    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.
    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
  12. Nicholson 1858

    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.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £8,758.33 Incl. VAT: £10,510.00

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    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.

    Flavour:
    Flavour: Whilst our knowledge of these old cognacs is sufficient in many cases to make an educated assessment of their flavour, we are unable to taste many of these old brandies to be certain of their qualities.
    Learn More

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