Here comes an old bottle of R. Leon Croizet Grande Champagne one of our readers has at home. Our reader also sent us the letter he received from Croizet’s side, which we show here further below. It says “recolte 1830”, that means harvest 1830… that’s a long time ago.
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The history of Croizet was unfortunately somewhat neglected by the
previous owners (company was sold in June 2007) so I am afraid that
there is little information on these old products. From what I have
managed to find out by going through the archives, this style of
labeling begins appearing during the late 1930,s and continued up
until the early 1950s. Then it was replaced by a more modern
Although the Croizet brand has been a little dormant in the past few
decades, it used to be a very important brand in the cognac industry.
We have records from 1899 which shows for example Croizet as the 6th
most important exporter from the port of La Rochelle (through which
all exports passed at the time). I attach a photo of the distribution
company in New York back in 1939.
As for what is in the bottle, you have what is called a
‘Pre-Phylloxera’ cognac, that is to say one of the original cognacs
produced before the entire region was wiped out in the late 19th
century. Given the numerous prizes won by Cognac Croizet during this
century, it could be argued that you have one of the rarest cognacs in
existence in your possession (collector value, historical interest,
incredible unique style and taste,…). The problem with these ‘museum’
pieces is that there is no real and ready market for them like the
fine wine market – this is always a shame for us cognac aficionados as
the prices got at auction do not do the cognacs justice.
I hope that this is of interest to you. For a little more information
on the brand have a look at our new website. It will give you a little
more history and idea about the brand itself. For your information a
cognac that was part of Léonie Croizet’s dowry in 1891 (from the 1858
harvest) is current on the MGM Macao drinks list approximately 50,000
US dollars! (per bottle). I must admit that this is very unusual and
there is a whole marketing plan around this, but it shows what some
people are ready to pay for a taste of history.
I hope that one day, when the time is right, you will open the bottle
and drink it with a group of deserving friends and family.
Cognacs were made to be drunk, they were always made for pleasure!
So that’s the letter. Please comment, and for those collectors out there, make your offers.