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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. 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
  2. Domaine des Forges 1836 Cognac

    Domaine des Forges was bought by Louis Vallein in 1791. At the time, this estate covered much of the village of Chermignac, near Cognac. The estate was handed down to his grandson Georges who, as distiller and wine and spirits shipper, founded a trading firm circa 1850. The business continued through Georges’ descendants, with son Paul and grandson Louis Tercinier taking over after World War I. The Cognac Vallein-Tercinier company is still a family run business having been handed down from father to son for 5 generations. The bottle and label are in good condition and the bottle is thought to contain 90cl.

    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: £7,966.67 Incl. VAT: £9,560.00

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    •  Express delivery available
    •  International Shipping
    •  Delivery to 50+ Countries

    Domaine des Forges was bought by Louis Vallein in 1791. At the time, this estate covered much of the village of Chermignac, near Cognac. The estate was handed down to his grandson Georges who, as distiller and wine and spirits shipper, founded a trading firm circa 1850. The business continued through Georges’ descendants, with son Paul and grandson Louis Tercinier taking over after World War I. The Cognac Vallein-Tercinier company is still a family run business having been handed down from father to son for 5 generations. The bottle and label are in good condition and the bottle is thought to contain 90cl.

    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
  3. René Niel 1854

    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.

    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: £7,275.00 Incl. VAT: £8,730.00

    Sold

    •  Express delivery available
    •  International Shipping
    •  Delivery to 50+ Countries

    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.

    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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