InterContinental Hong Kong is the only hotel in the world where travelers can sample shots of the world’s most expensive cognac: Cognac Croizet Cuvée Leonie 1858.
As the chief sommelier at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel, Andy Au had the honor of opening this prestigious bottle during an exclusive event this past November.
“You don’t want to rip the wax,” Au explained. “You just want to loosen it so it slides off. It’s very nerve-wracking!”
Cognac connoisseurs gathered at InterContinental Hong Kong to witness the uncorking. Why the excitement? In the past, Cognac Croizet Cuvée Leonie 1858 has only been available by the bottle, fetching nearly $150,000 each. But InterContinental Hong Kong has made the prestigious vintage slightly more accessible by selling it by the glass.
Founded in 1805 by Leon Croizet, Cognac Croizet is one of the oldest cognac houses in the world. The producer bottles only single vintages, a rarity in the industry, skipping the bad years rather than blending grapes across vintages as is common practice.
The first pour of the ultra-rare spirit, a precious portion of 40 milliliters (about 1.3 ounces), sold for HK$68,000 (US$8,764) — garnering the Guinness World Record for “Most Expensive Shot of Cognac.”
“I only got to smell it,” said Au of the shot. “The nose is spicy and complex — you can’t find this in any other cognac. There are only a few bottles left in the world. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Cuvée Leonie is, indeed, unique. Made from grapes that were planted by Julius Caesar’s armies in 55 B.C., it’s the only cognac left of its kind. The vines were later destroyed in the Great French Wine Blight of the 1870s.
The vintage’s price tag will continue to rise as the supply dwindles, but for now, it is available in all of the hotel’s bars and restaurants.
InterContinental Hong Kong’s Lobby Lounge is also serving up the world’s most expensive cocktail. Selling for HK$108,000 (US$13,919), The Winston is the only tipple made using the Cognac Croizet Cuvée Leonie 1858. Its namesake, Winston Churchill, is said to have sipped the vintage with General Dwight D. Eisenhower on the eve of D-Day in 1944. The drink also contains Grand Marnier, Chartreuse V.E.P and Angostura bitters.
The hotel’s relationship with Cognac Croizet goes further still with a one-of-a-kind getaway. Dubbed the VVIP Presidential Suite Cognac Croizet Experience, this two-part adventure carries a HK$1,288,888 (US$166,117) price tag.
The package consists of an overnight stay for two in InterContinental Hong Kong’s Presidential Suite, an entire bottle of Cognac Croizet Cuvée Leonie 1858, an exclusive chef pairing menu and spectacular rooftop views of Victoria Harbour.
The VVIP adventure continues with exclusive access to the Cognac Croizet vineyards for up to four people in Charentes, France, near Bordeaux. The guests of honor will indulge in a one-night stay and tour of the Cognac Croizet estate, which includes a cognac-blending tutorial with the cellar master (a take-home sample sweetens the deal), gourmet dining and an intimate tasting.