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04.2012

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedAtPressTime

THE TEETOTALER and HIS LIQUOR

If you’re interested in rare and antique bottles of spirits, and you have millions of dollars to spare, get your checkbook ready. Netherlands native Bay van der Bunt, who has spent much of his life amassing what he claims to be the world’s largest collection of old liquors, is selling it all. He owns more than 5OOO bottles, including cognacs dating back to 1789. But now van der Bunt, who has no children or potential heirs, is selling the entire lot (a promise he made to his wife). He hopes to sell to a single buyer, and expects the collection to bring in some $8 million. The crown prince of the collection is a six-liter bottle of 1795 Leopold Brugerolle, bought at an auction by Christie’s in 199O. It is the last remaining hand-crafted bottle in the world that accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte’s army on its campaigns and is valued at 138,OOO euros (US $182,OOO), according to Van der Bunt. There are also three complete sets of eight bottles of A.E. Dor cognacs, dating from 18O5, 1811, 1834, 184O, 1858, 1875, 1889, and 1893 and valued at between 7O,OOO to 8O,OOO euros (US $92,442 to $1O5,648) per set. A publisher who also deals in historic books, van der Bunt inherited some of the bottles from his father and grandfather, and acquired the rest from auctions and restaurant sales over the last 35 years. Ironically, the 63-year-old hasn’t consumed any of the collection himself; he only sips alcohol because “he gets drunk easily”. One bottle in particular is not for sale – a 178O Remy Martin believed to be one of the world’s oldest existing bottles of cognac which was a gift from his father.

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