The cognac world is no stranger to rare offerings, but still two new (technically very old) cognacs were introduced to the world recently. This week, Jay-Z unveiled an ultra-premium offering from D’ussé, the house that he co-owns with Bacardi. The previous week, divers discovered a massive stash of cognac once owned by the Czar in a 1917 shipwreck.
D’ussé 1969 Anniversaire Edition
Never shy about marketing tie-ins, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z used the occasion of his 50th birthday party to introduce D’ussé 1969 Anniversaire Edition. (The cognac is 50-years-old and so is Jay-Z, get it?)
Celebrity tie-ins aside, the juice is interesting because it’s not a blend, but a single eau-de-vie. According to the official story, Hova and D’ussé Cellar Master Michel Casavecchia discovered a super special barrel wile exploring the cave several year ago. In fact, this barrel was so phenomenal that it needed to be saved for a very important occasion—like Jay-Z’s 50th b-day.
So, in advance of the December 4 anniversary, the cognac was finally bottled. A little under 200 bottles were created. The first 50 were numbered and given to Jay-Z who will gift them out to his circle. The remainder are slated for sale at high end wine shops.
Since, Hova did not gift us one, we’re not sure what exactly it tastes like. However, D’ussé did offer a quote.
“Its aromas have now developed into characteristics unique to this exceptional batch,” said Casavecchia in a release. “The color is bright gold with shiny reflections. The nose brings rich aromas of fresh walnut, hazelnut and candied apple. Upon first sip, it reveals a distinct potency with powerful, woody notes and a long stewed fruit finish, with a touch of leather and cigar box.”
D’ussé 1969 Anniversaire Edition will retail for $5000 (which is actually not terrible for a super premium cognac).
The Romanoff Wreck
After a 20 year long salvage effort, some 100+ year old spirits were recovered from the Sea of Aland The OceanX team raised 50 cases of De Haartman & Co. cognac and 15 cases Benedictine 250 feet from the wreck of the S.S. Kyros off the coast of Sweden.
According to OceanX, in 1917, the Kyros was dispatched from France to Russia with a shipment of machinery and spirits. The booze was destined for none other than the imperial family.
“This was the last shipment for Russia, and for the czar,” said OceanX founder Peter Lindberg.
Mind you, this was the midst of war time—maybe, importing premium cognac during a war is the type of thing that got Czar Nichola II executed by the Bolsheviks the following year.
Anyway, the idea was that the Kyros was a Swedish flagged ship, therefore belonged to a neutral nation, and would be exempt from German attack. Unfortuantely, the local u-boat commander didn’t buy that reasoning.
The Germans stopped and searched the Kyros. After taking the crew onboard their submarine, they proceeded to sink her.
The ship’s final resting spot was unknown until discovery in 1999, but she was not undisturbed. Trawlers ad other craft wreaked havoc on her remains and snagged fishing nets obstructed access. (That’s why it took 20 years to salvage.)
Finally, this month, OceanX managed to reach the Czar’s stash. They discovered the Benedictine along with cognac from the now defunct De Haartman & Co.
The foil seals on many bottles were still intact, but others bottles showed signs of movement with the corks. So, the condition of the contents are still unknown. However, in many cases, the cold temperature of water proved an excellent aging environment.
As the Kyros was found in international waters, OceanX can claim ownership of the find. The exploration company plans to sell the bottles at auction.