< Go to Homepage

Bottle of Napoleonic Era Cognac Sells for $270K

History By
Tobias Felber/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
(Tobias Felber/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)


We’ve covered some pretty pricey cognacs in the past—a $39,000 bottle and $190,000 boxed set (based on October auction results at Sotheby’s).

But one bottle that dates back to 1801—i.e. the Napoleonic era—recently sold online for a whopping $270,000, making it likely the most expensive cognac in the world.

1801 Cognac
(Courtesy of Hermitage Cognacs and Brandyclassics.com)


As Decanter notes, the imperial three-quarter gallon bottle of Massougnes 1801 cognac was originally acquired some 20 years ago by Hermitage Cognacs Limited and Brandyclassics, a wholesaler that specializes in rare and high-end spirits. (Hermitage also produces its own brand of cognac.) Hermitage’s managing director David Baker told Decanter that the bottle was once owned by Marie-Antoinette des Allées, Comtesse de la Bourdelière, a direct descendant of Louis VII. (The Massougnes estate closed in 1874, after an infestation of insects ruined cognac vines all over Europe a few years prior.) The $270,000 bottle in question ended up selling at the Hedonism wine shop in London to an anonymous Asian buyer.

Last year, Hermitage parted ways with a Massougnes 1805 for about $225,000 (see image below). As Baker notes to RealClearLife, “The 1801 and 1805 are identical except for their age,” with the latter being produced during the Battle of Trafalgar. The seller still has one bottle of the 1805, which it has loaned to Hedonism, available there for about $300,000. (You can buy it at a discounted price on Hermitage’s website for about $217,000 here.)

Interestingly, Guinness World Records list the most expensive cognac sold at auction as only being about $124,000, suggesting someone needs to update their records.

1805 Cognac
(Courtesy of Hermitage Cognacs and Brandyclassics.com)