INVESTMENT

Invest in 2016 in an old French bistro spirit collection.

by Bruno de Serbirant

Tired of stocking boxes of Petrus or Romanée Conti wines, produced in huge quantity (500 000 Bordeaux every year for example), in dark and air conditioned cellars ! Many collectors around the world, in love with fine bottles, are now focusing on the narrow field of the old French spirits from the first half of the 20th century, from which only a few surviving bottles remain.

Few years ago, when it comes to alcohol, only Cognacs had a value quotation.
Nowadays, one discovers or re-discovers the charm of the old classics spirits :
Quinquinas, Vermouths, Anisettes, Gentianes, Rhums et Grogs, Goudrons, Menthes, Cherry Brandy, Liqueurs, Curaçaos, Kummels, Kirschs, Amers, Guignolets, Arquebuses, Marasquins, Crèmes de Fruits, Marcs, Eaux de Vie, etc.

Bartenders from grand hotels and other mixologists are now bringing up-to-date old spirits, and are reinventing ancient cocktails and martinis, even sometimes with old alcohol which is increasing their value rapidly.

Some spirit brands still exist today but are now produced industrially (Cointreau, Byrrh, Dubonnet, Izara, Pernod, Dolin, Suze, Negrita, Grand Marnier…) with modern and soulless technics that use different recipes compared to the original ones developed by distillery craftsmen.

The unopened bottles from before WWII are becoming very rare and are going to be valued quickly..
Contrary to old wines, those spirits can be stored or exposed vertically in a dedicated place (showcase, bar). It allows one to admire them, to present the creative bottle shapes, or the extraordinary label graphic designs, witnessed of a bygone era. The labels often promote the virtues of the spirits in an off-beat and old fashioned way.

It is possible to open these bottles, as many taste wonderfully. Spirits are way more more steadier than wines over time.
They are aging very slowly and some flavors disappear when others appear.
But you also have to be warned that, sometimes and even often, it is disappointing! It is undrinkable…

A patrimonial value

The bottles on this website are all collection pieces, some of them are one hundred years old and most of them come from the inter-war period.
They are dated, certified, numbered on parchment, appraised and sold by the only world worldwide company specialised in this field.

Due to the scarcity of the product, the supply of these rare alcohol is limited and will continue to decrease contrary to great wines, which are produced every year, into an already saturated world market.

It is a tangible asset, protected from the stock market fluctuation, the interest rate volatility, petrol prices, inflation or conflicts.

  • It is a luxury product, which is a reasonably priced, now considered by the French and International governance as part of the « French Gastronomic and Food Heritage » law 1170 from October 13th, 2014.

  • It is a patrimonial diversification opportunity, aside from real estate, stock market, gold or art pieces.

  • It is a niche product, discreet, very little or not taxed, depending on the country.

  • It is a secured placement with cultural heritage, and linked to the social prestige by few international experts, often aesthete and gastronome.

Top 10 most expensive alcohol :

  • Henri IV Dudognon Heritage Cognac………………….US $ 2 000 000
  • Russo Baltique Vodka…………………………………. .US $ 1 300 000
  • Mendis Brandy………………………………………….US $ 1 000 000
  • Tequilla The Diamond Sterling…………………………US $ 1 000 000
  • Diva Premium Vodka……………………………………US $ 1 000 000
  • Splush Tequila…………………………………………..US $ 250 000
  • Hennessy’s Beauté du Siècle……………………………US $ 220 000
  • The Macallan Fine and rare Vintage 1926………………US $ 75 000
  • Wray and Nephew Jamaïcan Rum 1940………………..US $ 51 000
  • Krug Champagne Vintage 1928…………………………US $ 21 200

Which bottle to start a collection with?

French people have always been very talented and inventive in the matter of alcohols.
Since the 19th century, they are leaders. The first half of the 20th century has seen a huge growth in the number of brands. It is another French specificity.

Here are the main brand categories that appeared during the first half of the 20th century, in order of importance :

  • Apéritifs anisés et absinthes
  • Vermouths
  • Quinquinas
  • Goudrons
  • Guignolets
  • Amers
  • Vins apéritifs
  • Cherry-Brandys
  • Gentianes
  • Liqueurs
  • Curacaos et Triple-secs
  • Rhums, Grogs et Punchs
  • Peppermints et menthes
  • Cognacs, armagnacs et calvados
  • Eaux de Vie et Marcs
  • Arquebuses
  • Kirschs
  • Kummels
  • Marasquins
  • Crèmes de cacao
  • Verveines
  • Fruit alcools