258-Year-Old Bottle of Cognac Now the World's Most Expensive Spirit

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The sale proves cognac is joining the rank of other spirits.

While booze collectors typically go for rare whiskeys and wines, it was a cognac that broke records recently. A bottle of Gautier Cognac 1762 sold at Sotheby's for a whopping $144,525 to a "private collector."

So, what made this bottle so special? "This was the last and largest of these remaining bottles, known as 'Grand Frère,' or the 'Big Brother,'" Sotheby's explained announcing the sale. "Its little sister ('petite soeur') is housed in the Gautier Museum, and its little brother ('petit frère') was sold at auction in New York in 2014."

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What's more, is it was dubbed "the oldest vintage Cognac ever to be sold at auction." And since it's just one of three bottles with its original label, it's considered "exceedingly rare." 

Courtesy Sotheby's

"This fantastic result speaks volumes of the 1762 Cognac's exceptional history, provenance, and importance for collectors," said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby's Spirits Specialist. For context, the year the bottle was made was the same as Britain's entrance into the Seven Years' War and George Washington's 30 birthday. 

Incredibly "Sotheby's now holds all three records for the highest value ever achieved for a whiskey, wine, and cognac sold at auction," said Fowle. The whiskey record was set last year with a sale price of nearly $2 million, and the wine record was established in 2018 when a bottle of 1945 Romanee-Conti sold for $558,000.

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In addition to the prestige of owning the rare bottle of cognac, the anonymous buyer will also get "to enjoy a bespoke experience at Maison Gautier, courtesy of the distillery." What's more, is Fowle believes the bottle is still drinkable. 

"Yes, this should still be drinkable," he said. "Judging by its level, I would expect this cognac to be in remarkably good condition. To imagine how this cognac may taste would be pure speculation, but the depth of flavor imparted from grapes grown on ancient rootstock could give the spirit a complexity that is harder to come by in the modern era."