- Vintage and Pre-Phylloxera Cognac -
The Greatest Brandy
Only brandy made from Grapes grown in the delimited district of France in the Charente known
as Cognac may be named cognac. The boundaries of this area were set down in 1909 and have
been subdivided into seven divisions of varying quality. In order of preference, they are:
Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois, Bois Ordinaires
and Bois à Terroir.
All cognac is made from wine that is fermented from whole grapes - flesh, skins, seeds and all.
The resulting wine is double-distilled in pot stills, and the heart of the second distillation is
destined to become cognac. It is aged in new oak casks for one year, and then transferred to
used oak casks, lest it take on too much tannin from the virgin oak. The letters on the label V.O.
and V.S.O.P. mean that the cognac has been aged for at least 4 and a half years, although in
practice V.S.O.P. cognacs have usually been aged for at least 8 years. If the label is printed with
the words
Extra, Napoléon or Vieille Réserve, the French government warrants that the cognac in
the bottle has been aged for a minimum of 5 and a half years. Stars found on cognac labels
came from a superstitious shipper of brandy who put a star on his bottles to pay homage to the
great "Comet" vintage of 1811, one of the best ever for cognac. Today, French law states that
three-star cognac, the youngest, must be aged for a minimum of 18 months.

Pre-phyloxera cognac

Pre-phylloxera cognac is fundamentally different from the modern product in a way not true of
most other spirits or other wines. The original Cognac vineyards - which are believed to date
back to Roman times, were chiefly planted with Folle Blanche, a thin-skinned grape variety,
highly prone to mildew and rot, but which in good vintages produces a brandy of incomparable
perfume and character. Under huge financial pressure, when it come to re-planting the
vineyards after phyloxera, the Cognac growers replanted with grafted Ugni Blanche, which
yields a less interesting brandy, but is much higher yielding and easier to grow. The unique
character and depth of the 50 - 60 year old Folle Blanche vines was lost forever. Today, less
than 5% of the total Cognac vineyard is Folle Blanche, the rest is all Ugni Blanche (and the
An 1865 cognac, relabelled for the
UK market in the early 1920's.

The label reads:
"Removed during the War from the
Cellars of one of the Old French
Chateau's and is undoubtedly the finest
specimen of Cognac Liqueur shipped to
this country for many years."
In other
words, bought from an old cellar in
France, and then relabelled by a British
wine merchant. The bottle itself is
extremely early and full of character -
certainly not later than 1850-1870.
Entirely hand blown-glass, pale
aquamarine as typically used for
cognac, very deep punt, several
bubbles and irregularities, a
remarkable 8 cm long bubble in the
neck. Excellent level, sound cork.

A superb Rouyer, Guillet & Cie
Grande Champagne Cognac, circa

Excellent level, branded cork,
wonderful condition. "Finest Old
Liqueur" Grande Champagne
Cognac, 50 years old at the time
of bottling. Traditional blown
blue-tinged glass bottle with deep
punt. This cognac was bottled (at
the latest) in the early 1920's,
"1873" written in pencil on the
label. A superb vintage cognac
from a prestigious house, likely
from the very tail-end of the
pre-phyloxera era.
A very fine dated cognac: Martell
Brandy 1900.

Excellent level, wonderful condition.

Hine Grande Champagne
Cognac 1928

Excellent level, branded cork,
wonderful condition. A superb
vintage dated cognac from
one of the very finest houses.
Extremely rare.

Cognac Roi de France
Fine Champagne 1811

Excellent level, original
19th century wax,
wonderful condition. A
superb cognac from the
legendary "Comet" vintage
of 1811.

Croizet Bonaparte
Cognac Fine Champage

A superb bottle from a
famous marque.

Barnett's 1934 Grande Champagne Cognac
Landed 1935, bottled 1962.

Immaculate condition.

Cognac Otard Dupuy & Co

Original lithographic poster, circa

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Bisquit Dubouche
Grande Champagne
Cognac 1840

A very rare bottle.

Barriasson Old Liqueur Cognac, Vintage 1834

Focaud Lechantre
Cognac 1820

A rare & early bottle.

Chateau Guerin
Grande Fine
Champagne  1858

Liqueur Brandy
1878 Bottled by

Martell's Choice
Vintage Brandy
1906 Cognac        

Delamain Cognac Grande Champagne
Vintage 1906

The two most prestigious and collectible
small houses are Delamain and Hine.

Traditionally these two have always been
the most favoured by the great
gentleman's clubs Cambridge colleges,
and the senior regimental messes of the
British Army.

This is a very rare and collectible cognac,
early vintage dated Delamains are much
harder to find than the equivalent from
Hine. Immaculate condition.

Bisquit Dubouche Grande Fine
Champagne Cognac 1904

A highly desirable bottle. Very
good condition, front label torn
at time of bottling, rear label

Croizet Reserve Royale 1894

Scarce bottle. Outstanding near
mint condition, with original carton.

Caves de l'Hotel de Paris,
Monte Carlo, Vieille Fine
Champagne 1865

Extremely rare and the
cellars of this legendary

Berry Bros Liqueur Cognac Grands
Fin Bois 1850

Rare and important bottling.

Bisquit Dubouche Cognac Grande Fine
Champagne 1811

Cognac LHeraud Grande
Champagne 1899

Cognac Grande Champagne Louis XV,
Maison J Balluteaud, Vintage 1920

Balluteaud, proprietor of some of the best
vineyards in the Grande Champagne.

Cognac Brandy,
J & G Stewart,
Vintage 1893

An early bottling from a
fine Scottish merchant, a
gorgeous bottle.
Hand-blown glass.

Vieille Eau de Vie de Cognac Fine
Champagne Extra 1858.

Shipped by JL Garros in Bordeaux.
Excellent level, nice colour, original
19th century bottling, gold
capsule, bin-soiled labels. A very
fine cognac in an early bottling full
of character, from a great early
vintage of the pre-phylloxera era.  

See our special page on the oldest known cognac and another specifically on Remy Martin's
"Louis XIII" Grande Champagne Cognac
Lafeuillade 1811

The bottle was given as a
gift in 1927 to a Captain
Allemand of the French
Navy, commander of the
ship "Formosa" as part of
the acknowledgement of
his heroic Italian boat off
the coast of Brazil. The
bottle was conserved as a
family heirloom by his
descendants ever since.

Pierre Chabanneau & Co Fine Champagne Cognac, Vintage 1850

3 bottles available

Chabanneau is a very old marque whose 19th century cognacs were renowned
for their quality. The firm was set up in 1830 as a partnership between Pierre
Chabanneau, the cellarmaster at the Grande Hotel in Paris and a
entrepreneurial Dutch trader. Chabanneau has always been particularly
esteemed by the grandest Michelin-starred restaurants and today is sold in 30
different countries. Some years ago they were bought by Camus, so they are
now part of the same stable.

The bottles were bought by the previous owners on auction in the 1950's,and
have been perfectly stored ever since. This cognac would have been kept in
barrel and then glass demi-johns before it was bottled in the early 1920's. The
bottles themselves are fully branded both on the neck and on the base.
This is a SUPERB PRE-PHYLLOXERA COGNAC, with a remarkably rich and complex nose that just leaps from the glass, and the
quintessential taste of un-grafted folle blanche on the palate. It is a textbook example of rancio, the most elusive and
sought-after characteristic of the finest vintage cognac. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION!

Email us for pricing and ordering details
Brugerolles Freres, Caves de l'Empereur, Chateau de Fontainebleau, Vieille Fine Napoleon, 1811

One of the classic 1811 bottlings in remarkably good condition, excellent level sound cork. Full, rich

Original embossed lead capsule, and raised "N" seal in glass at shoulder. A near perfect bottle from
the most legendary of all vintages.

A magnum of "Cognac Vieux 1811" in an extraordinary handblown black Comet of 1811.

One of the oldest of all surviving 1811 bottlings. This bottle originates from the cellars of the
legendary racing driver Juan Fangio.

Cognac Fine Champagne Camus

Rare pre-phylloxera vintage from a  
grande marque. In the 19th century,
Camus was the most popular cognac
with the Russian aristocracy.

Cognac Grande Fine Champagne
1846, Cognacs Authentiques Vins

Very rare label, a high quality cognac
aimed at the connoisseur's market.
The logo is strikingly reminiscent of
the Rothschild emblem.

A unique bottle of Cognac Napoleon Grande Fine Champagne 1811, given as a gift by King Ludwig
III of Bavaria, with accompanying letter of provenance.

This remarkable bottle, in superb condition, dates from the fabled 1811 vintage, and was given as a gift
by King Ludwig III of Bavaria to his personal physician, and then passed down through three
generations of his family. The letter of provenance, handwritten in German, is dated 9 February 1991,
and reads (translated):
Dear Gunnar, doctor Professor Prohaska received this bottle of COGNAC NAPOLEON 1811 GRAND FINE
CHAMPAGNE – RÉSERVE from his patient: KING LUDWIG III OF BAVARIA. Professor Prohaska (his wife was a
school-fellow of Aunt Johanna) gave this bottle to Uncle Peter for his 50th birthday on 20 October 1932.
Uncle Peter gave this bottle to me for my 60th birthday on 8 November 1964. Today, on 9 February 1991,
we give this bottle to you, for your 50th birthday. Your father and mother. (PS. This story came from the
memory of earlier anecdotes told by Uncle Peter and Aunt Johanna).

Magnier Grande Champagne
Cognac, Vintage 1893
A fine bottle from a great late
nineteenth century vintage

Good rich colour, a small but
sought after producer with a
reputation for quality. Magnier
were owners of some very fine
vineyards in the heart of the
Grande Champagne cognac
region. This is one of the
producers keen collectors always
look for.

Cognac Grande Champagne de Reserve 1811
Pierre Chabanneau & Co.

A spectacular and unique MAGNUM


Early fully hand-blown light olive glass magnum
bottle. Some crudity in the glass with
unevenness in the base due to differing
thickness of the glass. Deep punt. Applied glass
seal on the shoulder, with the Napoleonic "N"
surmounted by a crown. Original cork with black
wax seal. Outstanding ullage, well into the neck.
Contents are clear and bright, excellent colour.
Overall absolutely remarkable condition, as close
to perfection as one could find.

This cognac would have spent the first 20 to 40
years of its life in cask, and would then likely
have been stored in demijohns until bottling 80
or 90 years later.
This bottle comes from a renowned private cellar
in Europe, and was bought by the previous
owner in the 1950's.

Cockburn & Co. Grande
Champagne Cognac, Vintage
A scarce vintage, bottled by a
prestigious Scottish wine

Cockburn & Co of Leith, Scotland,
were one of the great Scottish
wine merchants, and all their early
spirits bottlings are of superb
quality. Extremely well priced for
such a fine cognac. I've personally.

Email us for pricing and ordering
Philippe, Restaurant Henry, Place
Rare 1890's bottling from one of the
greatest restaurants of the Second

Very fine and rare circa 1890's bottling
from the restaurant Henry, on the Place
Gaillon, one of the most fashionable
Parisian restaurants of the era.

Cognac Favraud, Vieille
Reserve 1893
Wonderful looking bottle, an
acclaimed cognac from a very
great vintage.

Absolutely gorgeous bottle. This
cognac Paris and Milan between
1900 and 1906. Perfect mint
condition bottle.

Cognac Grande Champagne
"Reserve du Prince Eugene", Les
Caves Maxims, Paris

Rare late 1890's / early 1900's
bottling from the prestigious cellars
of the great Parisian restaurant.
Wonderful label!

Cognac Grande Champagne 1906,
Caves de la Maison Prunier
An excellent vintage from a most
prestigious source.

Grande Champagne Cognac from the
great A rare cognac from an excellent
cellar. Very good condition.

Cognac Fine Champagne Denis Mounie Grande Reserve Edouard VII
"By appointment to his late Majesty Edward VII"
Magnum bottle (1.5 litre)
A marque with a cult following amongst serious collectors.

One magnum of Denis Mounie Grande Reserve Edouard VII "By appointment to his late Majesty
Edward VII". Denis Mounie is a revered name in cognac, they were eventually bought by Hine, but
their cognacs from the mid 19th century until the 1930's are very sought after, there are several
collectors who collect ONLY Denis Mounie. This was their most famous blend, 25 years in wood, very
popular in the Edwardian era, and the favorite cognac of King Edward VII. Photographed with a
regular wine bottle to show the size properly.

T. Hine & Co Grande Champagne Cognac Vintage 1934

These 1930's Hine Cognacs are extremely sought after, and very scarce. Mint

T. Hine & Co Grande Champagne Cognac Vintage 1935

A companion bottle to the one above, from the next vintage year. Mint

1895, Ch Lafitte

A rare bottle from a scarce

Unusual heavy Burgundy shape
bottle. Original tin capsule. Very
good condition.

Cognac Grande Champagne Verreries,
Vintage 1904, Berry Bros & Rudd
A rare single village cognac bottled
for England's most prestigious wine

Aged for more than 60 years in cask
prior to bottling. Seal on capsule.

Cognac Grande
Vintage 1885, Berry Bros
& Rudd
A superb cognac bottled
for wine merchant.

Perfect condition, seal on

Cognac Grande Fine Champagne,
Fromy Vintage 1904

Unusual and scarce bottling from this
small high quality marque.

Cognac Napoleon Grande
Champagne 1811 Reserve

Good seal, and good level. This is a
known 1811 label, and was likely
bottled from demijohns in the 1880's
for the high-end restaurant trade.
Blown in the mould bottle with a
deep punt. This is a very highly
regarded bottling indeed, and when
occasionally bottles have come on to
the market, they have always
realized well above the estimates.

Price on request, please email us
for details
United Vineyard Proprietors Company
of Cognac, J. G. Monnot "The
Salamander" 1858
A spectacular bottle from this highly
esteemed but short lived
Anglo-French marque

Original mid 19th century bottling in
exceptional condition, excellent level,
sound cork. Full, rich colour. Original
branded lead capsule, embossed with
raised "1858". A tremendously rare
bottle of the greatest character and
charm. Original manuscript cellar tag
with the vintage date.

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Cognac vineyard is far smaller - just on 80 000 hectares compared to 230 000 hectares in its heyday in the mid 19th century).

Pre-phylloxera cognac has a unique quality, not found in modern cognacs.

The 1811 vintage

1811 was regarded at the time as the greatest vintage in living memory, and is now universally held to be the finest vintage
of the 19th century throughout the vineyards of Western Europe. A long hot summer and a warm dry autumn meant an
abundant harvest of perfectly ripe grapes, from Bordeaux to Burgundy, from the Rheingau to the vineyards of Tokaji. In
Cognac, the folle blanche reached an unequalled level of perfection, and the distillers knew that they were dealing with a
once in a lifetime harvest. In the same year, Napoleon himself visited the region, and was presented with a barrel of cognac
as a gift for his young son. Many ascribed the extraordinary weather to the remarkable astronomical event that had
dominated the year - The Great Comet. The comet was visible by astronomers for 17 months, but for two months -
September and October 1811, exactly the time grapes were harvested - it was clearly visible to the naked eye, illuminating
the night sky with a coma that at one point exceeded the diameter of the sun. It was taken as sign of supernatural blessing
on the harvest, which henceforth was known as "The Comet Vintage".

The exceptional quality of 1811 cognac was recognised immediately, and the leading producers marked the vintage either
with the date on the bottle, or, more unusually, with a picture of the comet forever associated with the vintage. The date
"1811" or the star (as the comet symbol soon became) were regarded as signs of infallible quality, and the leading
producers were not slow to exploit this. By the late nineteenth century there were a plethora of "1811 Cognacs". Some of
these still survive today, and most are very fine, but perhaps some should correctly be regarded as tributes to the vintage of
1811, rather than as the actual product of the year - producers simply used the designation "1811" as a way of signifying
their very best and oldest blend, regardless of the actual composition of the brandies. In the 1930's and 1959's
unscrupulous producers mainly in the US re-bottled many ordinary brandies under faked "1811" labels - these are easy to
recognise, but still turn up every year on auction and can fool the unwary.

Contemporary bottlings of the 1811 vintage can be recognised first and foremost by the characteristics of the glass bottle
itself, which must clearly date from the 1820's or 1830's, when this cognac was originally bottled. They are extraordinarily
1900 to 1999 cognacs are now offered on French Vintage Spirits!