The Last Drop Distillers is the Indiana Jones of the spirits industry, constantly hunting down rare and precious elixirs for collectors and connoisseurs worldwide. And their latest find is one of the most impressive, a Grande Champagne Cognac from 1925 that lay hidden behind a secret wall in France for nearly eight decades.
Described as a "deeply complex and exquisite eau-de-vie," only 182 bottles of the precious spirit will be offered at $4,750 apiece. And because some collectors are planning to keep it locked away even longer, it comes with a 50ml sample bottle and tasting book so you savor the golden liquid and still keep your bottle intact.
“The moment we first tasted the 1925 Cognac, we knew we had a miraculous spirit before us,” says Rebecca Jago, Joint Managing Director of The Last Drop. “It is an extraordinary cognac from a single, precious cask, to rival any of the great names." In 1925 The Great Gatsby was published and the first edition of The New Yorker was released, while in France this future rarity was being distilled on a small family estate in the prestigious Grande Champagne region of Cognac.
In 1940 it was hastily taken from the cellar where it was aging and hidden behind a false wall so as not to fall into the hands of the advancing German army. It had been recently discovered when the Last Drop sleuths happened to come across the ancient estate last year, and eventually negotiated the purchase of the cask with the colorful history.
“This is one of, if not the, best cognacs I’ve ever experienced," declares Clive Carpenter, Manager of Domaine Breuil de Segonzac Cognac, a top expert. "Rarely does a single, unblended eau-de-vie reach such all-around perfection. A perfect balance between all its component parts, giving it a wonderful elegance and freshness. The nose and the palate are equally powerful and complex, and no single aroma or flavor dominates the others. It is perfect harmony in cognac."
The fruit – very ripe exotic fruits, such as mango, jackfruit, mangosteen and papaya – overlays "mellow but powerful oak flavors which stop short of astringency," according to Carpenter. "The almost explosive rancio [the peak of refinement in aromas and flavors] provides great length to the palate but is beautifully offset by the elegant acidity that brings a touch of lightness. In the finish, we detect an unusual hint of ‘café au lait’, with a touch of English toffee, alongside oaky, orange peel, prune and nutty flavors.”
Ben Howkins, Director of The Last Drop Distillers, calls out its "lovely amber hues with a hint of spring and immediate engaging aromas that keep flowing to the senses. A gently swirling trout river comes to mind – then a sudden veritable explosion of wondrous tastes lights up the mouth. Glorious velvety fireworks just keep evolving and evolving – 1812, eat your heart out. An eclectic wake-up call. This once in a lifetime experience, by the definition of the rarity of stock, can only be appreciated by the very few.”
To sum up, a truly exceptional cognac which is unlikely to ever be seen or tasted again. So if you've got something to celebrate, this is one damned elegant way to do it.