These three beautiful brandies take you
back in time, make you feel like royalty, and come with
equally lofty price tags.
This column is dedicated to high rollers. I'm talking about people
who drive Bentleys with license-plate holders that read: "My other
car is a Ferrari." If you want to know what the lifestyle of the
rich and famous tastes like, have a sip of one of these three fine
brandies. If you've got someone on your holiday gift list who's
already got the proverbial everything, these'll make him or her sit
up and take note. But, it'll cost you.
Before cognac became a liquor-cabinet staple of the higher-ups, it
was a region, part of the duchy of Aquitaine in the Middle Ages.
When Eleanor of Aquitaine became Queen of England, the area's
economy boomed. The English royalty loved their imported table
wines from Cognac, and the town was given special royal protection
under Francois I of France, who was born there. But cognac - the
drink - as we know it today didn't exist until the 17th century
when the crafty Dutch set up the first stills in Cognac to distill
the local wine into brandewijin, or brandy.
Cognac has since become a symbol of the monied lifestyle, from
Monte Carlo to Hong Kong. (Hong Kong is now the largest consumer of
cognac, per capita, in the world.) One of these three bottles is
sure to impress, if not overwhelm, someone on your gift list.