Cognac, as you may well know, is a distinguished kind of brandy named after the commune of Cognac located in South-eastern France. In order for a brandy to be classified as Cognac, it has to be produced from grapevines in Cognac, France, while other brandies can be made anywhere else in the world. In this regard Cognac is to brandy what champagne is to sparkling wine.
Cognac has been produced for 300 years, and back in 1738 it was even awarded the royal accord, the seal of the French royal family. Needless to say, Cognac has always been regarded as the king of brandies, and has developed its own unique audience. It therefore also tends to be a little more pricey than other brandies. However, the decisive factor driving up the price of the world’s most expensive cognac lies in their scarcity — only an extremely limited number of bottles were produced from carefully selected wine spirit barrels.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how much you’d have to budget to enjoy the world’s most expensive cognacs, allow me to give you an indication. Here’s the world’s top 3 most expensive cognacs:
3. Hine 250th Anniversary Limited Edition
In third place, though lagging quite some distance behind the top 2, is the Hine 250th Anniversary limited edition, a 750 ml bottle of which would cost you nearly £ 13,000. The contents of the barrel from which this cognac was produced dates back to 1953, but the cognac was only released and sold to the public in 2013, on the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the House of Hine. This specific barrel was given much heed and was specially preserved in the family reserve. The particularly difficult weather conditions of 1953 year gave this cognac qualities that ensure outstanding longevity, and it reached its peak in 2013. Only 250 bottles of this exquisite brandy were produced.
2. Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl Grande Champagne
In second place, though by no means lagging far behind the top spot, is the Louis XIII de Remy Martin Black Pearl Grande Champagne, a bottle of which would cost you about £ 35,000. Cognac Grande Champagne is, however, not a Champagne, but a Cognac brandy made from the vineyards the most respected of the six Cognac districts that surround Cognac town. Its name often leads to confusion, but you must remember that the word “champagne” (from Latin “campania”) originally meant ‘open country’, and features in at least a dozen placenames all over France, including both the Champagne wine region and the Grande Champagne brandy district. Made from a blend of 1200 wine spirits that are between 40 and 100 years old and matured in a 100-year oak barrel, just 786 of these ornamental glass bottles were ever produced.
1. Louis XIII de Remy Martin Rare Cask Grande Champagne
And the most expensive brandy in the world, also produced by Remy Martin, is the Louis XIII de Remy Martin Rare Cask Grande Champagne. A bottle of this exquisite brandy costs a whopping £ 45,000! It is sold in 738 Baccarat crystal decanters — each detailed with 22-carat rose gold. It was produced from 1200 different wine spirits between 40 and 100 years old, each of which contributes something unique to the blend — and all of which were of course sourced from the Grande Champagne district. Every sip reveals a new layer of flavours, and once the bottle is opened, complex aromas waft across the room. In 2012, Cellar Master Pierrette Trichet declared that the contents of this special cask had finally achieved their long-awaited perfect point of balance and it was released into the market, but only 738 bottles were ever produced.
I’m very fortunate to have a number of cognac houses as clients and so have been able to the visit the cask rooms of these incredible creations. It’s very difficult to describe the smell and atmosphere when you walk into a cask room. You’re surrounded by oak casks that are in some cases hundreds of years old. Some people will say that no drink, regardless of how special it is, is worth tens of thousands of pounds, but price is relative, you’re not just paying for the liquid in the decanter, you’re paying for hundreds of years of heritage and generations of craftmanship.