Latest 'most expensive' cognac is a stunner

The latest entry in the adult beverage world's "most expensive product" category comes in the cognac subdivision.

Henri IV Dudognon Heritage, valued in the decanter shown here at 1 million British pounds sterling --about $1.9 million US -- "is known to be the most luxurious and most expensive in the world," its producers said in a statement.

The name Henri IV honors the French king (1553-1610) who is a direct ancestor of Claudine Dudognon–Buraud, heiress to Maison Dudognon, which is located in the center of the smallest area of France's Cognac Grande Champagne region. It has been producing this cognac since 1776.

While this particular cognac is, by all accounts, excellent, the bottle is astounding: handcrafted crystal, dipped in 24-karat yellow gold and sterling platinum and decorated with 6,500 certified brilliant cut diamonds.

It weighs about 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) and is filled with 33 ounces of Dudognon Heritage Cognac Grande Champagne, aged in barrels for more than 100 years to produce an alcohol content of 41% (82 proof).

The Dudognon family distills only the Ugni Blanc grown on their properties. Their two alambics produce about 200 barrels annually, some of which is sold to the well-known cognac houses of Remy Martin, Delamain and Hine.

All Dudognon farming is organic and the eau de vie made from the family's best grapes is aged on-premises in their small chai (pronounced "kay," as opposed to a wine cellar it is an aboveground structure used for wine storage and aging). The wood used for the barrels is air dried for five years prior to use. No additives are introduced in the process, so the finished cognac is light colored and airy.

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