How much would a bottle of 1789 Courvoisier cost? If you guessed S$186,000, you were right.
Out of Dutch collector Bay van der Bunt’s extensive collection of more than 5,000 bottles of vintage liquors, this prized bottle now seats in London’s Harrods Wine Shop’s tasting room.
Over a four-day period to mark the arrival of this unique bottle’s arrival at Harrods, Courvoisier’s Brand Manager Rebecca Asseline and Courvoisier Master Blender Patrice Pinet will host London’s who’s who and the press in a tutored tasting of the Courvoisier XO and Courvoisier Succession, straight out of barrels brought out of Chateau Courvoisier in Jarnac, France. These will be paired with cuisine prepared onsite by Harrods’s renowned chefs. Guests can expect to taste Brill Sashimi, Venison Loin, Blood Orange Cake, and French Lavender Cake, amongst other h’orderves.
So what makes a man the owner of what has been dubbed the “World’s Largest Old Liquors Collection”? Dating back 40 ears, Mr van der Bunt’s collection started when his antiques shop business brought him on frequent trips to France, scouring the outskirts for hidden gems in forgotten second-hand stores. ‘But many times, there were also old bottles of cognac or Armagnac and I decided to buy these, not even thinking back then what it would one day become.’, said Mr van der Bunt in a Feb 2012 interview.
Over the years, his collection has grown to a whopping 5,000 bottles and is now housed in a converted cow shed on the edge of Breda in Southern Holland. Comprising some of the rarest old liquors in the world, some notable items include a hand-blown bottle of 1789 Courvoisier & Curlier (S$77,000), three complete sets of the famed A.E. Dor Cognacs with each set comprising 8 bottles with vintages between 1805 and 1893 (S$126,000 per set) and get this: The last remaining hand-crafted bottle in the world that was part of French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s collection. Valued at S$218,000, this 6-Litre bottle of 1795 Leopold Brugerolle is no doubt, the crown prince of the entire collection.
Now, in fulfilling a promise made to his wife, that he would build them a new house when she retired, Mr van der Bunt is putting up the entire collection for sale. Already receiving bids to the tune of S$12mil from serious bidders in China and Russia, Mr van der Bunt is holding out for a collector who like himself, wasn’t in it for the money, but for the love of these dark, complex spirits passed down through generations.
When asked if there is one bottle he wouldn’t sell, Mr van der Bunt was quick to point out the one bottle he’ll always treasure. A 1780 bottle of Remy Martin, believed to be one of the world’s oldest existing bottles of cognac. It was a gift from his father, who once told him, ‘You are out of your mind to collect liquor. Why don’t you invest in something worthwhile?’