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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. 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
  2. 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

    •  Express delivery available
    •  International Shipping
    •  Delivery to 50+ Countries
    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
  3. 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

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

    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
  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.
    Learn More
    Excl. VAT: £26,250.00 Incl. VAT: £31,500.00

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

    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 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

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

    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

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