A bottle of Gautier Cognac 1762–yes, that’s Cognac from 1762, not just some clever name like Remy Martin’s 1738 Accord Royal–just sold for £118,580 (around $146,000), setting a new record for a bottle of Cognac sold at auction. The bottle was sold on May 28 as part of an online auction at Sotheby’s titled “Distilled | Iconic Samaroli, Dalmore 62 and The World’s Oldest Cognac.”
To give some perspective on just how long ago 1762 was, that’s the year that Catherine the Great became empress of Russia and the year King George IV of the United Kingdom was born. This is pre French Revolution Cognac and we imagine that’s probably something akin to wine made before phylloxera caused the Great French Wine Blight in the mid-19th Century. Meaning, it’s probably pretty darn good.
Not surprisingly, this was a pretty rare bottle. According to Sotheby’s, “Only three bottles of this exceedingly rare Cognac remain to this day, having been held in the same family for generations with their original labels attached. This was the last and largest of these remaining bottles, known as “Grand Frère”, or the “Big Brother”; 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. The winning bidding – an Asian private collector – is also set to enjoy a bespoke experience at Maison Gautier, courtesy of the distillery.”
Jonny Fowle, a Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said in a statement, “This fantastic result speaks volumes of the 1762 Cognac’s exceptional history, provenance and importance for collectors. We are very pleased that Sotheby’s now holds all three records for the highest value ever achieved for a whisky, wine and cognac sold at auction.”
“Distilled” was Sotheby’s first online spirits auction of 2020. And the 1762 Cognac wasn’t even the most expensive bottle sold. The auction also set a record for whisky made at the Dalmore Distillery as a 62-year-old whisky sold for £266,200 (about $324,445) each.