[Updated 26 August 2019]

Murder, crime, and misdemeanors of every type are set to hit the town of Cognac for the upcoming annual Cognac Crime Novel Festival (18-20 October 2019). The Festival Polar de Cognac began in 1996 and has been honoring those who wax lyrical about the darker side of life ever since. But, to steal a cliché, true life is often stranger than fiction.

For The Love Of Cognac: 7 Bizarre Alcohol-Related Crimes
The Polar Festival in Cognac celebrates stores related to crime, misdeeds, and felonies of all kinds. But crimes involving Cognac? That’s when real life overtakes fantasy when it comes to the “weird factor”

So with that in mind, let’s take a walk on the wild side and delve into the bizarre world of the bad guys and their alcohol-related crimes—all sealed with a twist of Cognac.

1. Cognac / Alcohol-related homicides: in other words, never accept anything from strangers…

What would you do if you were on a train and someone wanted to buy you a drink? Depending on the situation, you might well accept. But following this tale of woe you might well reconsider.

Straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, it appears that affluent travelers on a train in Russia were targeted by two Russians and a man from Uzbekistan.

For The Love Of Cognac: 7 Bizarre Alcohol-Related Crimes
Worthy of the imagination of Ms. Christie, this Cognac crime had a devastating outcome

They approached their victims and said they’d like to share a drink with them. When they accepted they were plied with a Cognac laced with tranquilizers. Once they succumbed to the effects of the lethal cocktail they were robbed. This was a serious crime—17 people were killed and a further 15 required medical attention.

Moral of the story: never, ever, accept anything from strangers…

2. Obsessed Avril Lavigne Fan murders mom for not getting him tickets

Robert Lyons’s desire to see singer Avril Lavigne was, to say the least, somewhat out of control. When his mom wouldn’t arrange to get tickets for him to see the artist in concert, he hit her over the head with a bottle of Cognac and then stabbed her in the back. What the hell? That really is a tale worthy of the lyrics of one of Lavigne’s most famous songs.

3. “No Mercy” for T.I. as he loses Remy Martin deal before it even began

Hip-hop celeb T.I. (Clifford Harris, Jr.) signed a deal with Remy Martin to become a Global Creative Consultant for the brand. Too bad he couldn’t keep his nose clean though, because just five months after the deal was clinched he and his wife were arrested on drug charges. This was on top of his supervised federal probation from previous weapons charges, so jail once again beckoned…

His gig with Remy was immediately canceled, meaning this bad boy never got past the starting post. Remy Martin released the following statement about this sorry incident,

Sometimes the ‘road to redemption’ is a difficult path. Regrettably, we will not be able to continue collaborating with T.I. at this time. We wish T.I. well and hope he will devote his time and energy to staying the course.”

4. 28 days in jail for Lidl Cognac theft

Lidl, the cut-price grocery store that famously infuriated the French government by selling Bredon XO Cognac for the dumping price of €19.99, was targeted by a man in one of its stores in Ireland. Read more about the move that caused industry uproar in our article, Lidl Sells Bredon XO for 19,99 Euro.

For The Love Of Cognac: 7 Bizarre Alcohol-Related Crimes
An Irish Lidl store was the location for the theft of multiple bottles of Cognac

The guy was stopped for the attempted liquor store robbery of what was, at first, thought to be six bottles of Cognac in a bag. On the way to the cop shop, he pulled two more bottles from his pants and then admitted to a further nine bottles that he’d already liberated from the store’s shelves.

The result? 28 days in jail.

For The Love Of Cognac: 7 Bizarre Alcohol-Related Crimes
Jail time for the hapless Irish Cognac thief

5. Taco Bell. You want Cognac with that?

Now, who doesn’t love a shot of Hennessy Cognac? But, for most of us, we tend to wait until the working day is over before we imbibe. This was not the case for an employee at the Beaverton, Oregon Taco Bell Drive-Thru, when, at 1:20 am in the morning was rewarded with a “livener”, perhaps to help him power through the drudge of the night shift. 

A young lady, Elianna Aguilar-Aguila approached the drive-thru window, leaned out of her car and poured a generous swig of Henney straight into the employee’s mouth! A perk of the job, perhaps? However… A Washington Country Sherriff’s deputy just happened to be in the car behind her. 

For The Love Of Cognac: 7 Bizarre Alcohol-Related Crimes
Taco Bell night shift worker the target of an audacious Cognac-related crime

Can you guess what happened next? Yep, you’ve got it. He pulled her over and she was arrested for the “The weirdest DUII of the weekend” according to the sheriff’s office Facebook post. It appears that Aguilar-Aguila didn’t even know the guy, who when interviewed said that most of the Hennessy spilled down his front. And that’s the second crime in the scenario—that of wasting Cognac.

6. ‘Real Housewives of New York’ Production Robbed During Giorgio G Cognac Launch

Back in 2010, Georgio Gucci celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Georgio G brand with a launch of a limited edition brand of Cognac. But the event itself (and, we have to say, the Cognac as well) was overshadowed by the fact that the production crew of The Real Housewives of New York was robbed during the launch—to the tune of $30,000 worth of equipment and personal effects.

The Cognac, we have to say, was not a hit. In fact, it appears they only sold 300 bottles in the first three years. So an attempt was made to sell the rest of the 5,700 bottles for a cool $18 million dollars… Wow! 

Now, far be it from us to judge, but we’d hazard a guess that one of the reasons the Cognacs failed to hit the spot was down to this outrageously outdated marketing campaign. Come on… The old guy in a smoking jacket with a snifter in his hand? You gotta be kidding us? The real crime committed here was by the marketing team you hired. Even in 2010 this was a wholly outdated approach and, sorry to say it, but was doomed to failure before it even left the starting post…

For The Love Of Cognac: 7 Bizarre Alcohol-Related Crimes
The dreadful picture that spearheaded the ill-fated advertising campaign of Giorgio G Cognac

7. A thief with “good taste” steals $2,400 Rémy Martin Louis XIII cognac

Far be it from us to condone a crime of any kind, we kind of have a grudging respect for the masked robber who managed to sneak a bottle of Rémy Martin Louis XIII from an Oregon department store. A spokesman for the police, Mike Rouches, said of the theft,  “He has good taste, he knew exactly what he was after. I’ve not seen a theft like this. Usually, they grab whatever they can.”

For The Love Of Cognac: 7 Bizarre Alcohol-Related Crimes
The wonderful Remy Martin Louis XIII Cognac was certainly a spoil for this “thief with good taste”

So there you have it. The passion for Cognac has a darker side, often spilling over into felonious acts around the world We guess that a high-end product is always going to attract the mischievous, the bad, and the downright criminal element of society. 

But for us, we’ll carry on with the lighter element of eau-de-vie. After all, it’s pretty hard to get your hands on Cognac when trapped behind bars. So we’ll keep our shenanigans firmly on the right side of the law if it’s all the same to you…

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Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973.Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.

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