The Bar­badillo Ver­sos 1891 Amon­til­lado

The World’s most ex­pen­sive Sherry

Upscale Living Magazine - - Content - | BY RAJ GILL

Tipped to be the most ex­pen­sive sherry in the world the Bar­badillo Ver­sos 1891 Amon­til­lado at $10,000 a bot­tle, was cre­ated for a spe­cific rea­son. Manuel Bar­badillo was gifted the cask by his fa­ther as a chris­ten­ing present, pretty un­usual present for a new-born, not quite so for this fam­ily, and the fact that it has taken on such a great value, just goes to show it was a shrewd de­ci­sion. The Bar­badillo broth­ers were all given one cask of the amon­til­lado sherry each and it be­came known as “las bo­tas de los ni­nos”. The bar­rels re­mained un­touched, and locked up in the fam­ily run sherry bodega in San­lu­car de Bar­rameda.

Manuel made his fam­ily proud, not only did he work in the fam­ily busi­ness for over five decades, he was a phi­lan­thropist, a poet and per­haps his deal­ings in the po­lit­i­cal arena are what made his fam­ily truly proud, he was the Mayor of San­lu­car. Sadly he passed away in 1986 and ever since the fam­ily have been brain­storm­ing ideas on how to com­mem­o­rate this great man. They found the per­fect trib­ute with Ver­sos 1891.

At $10,000 a bot­tle, to keep it ex­clu­sive, just 100 bot­tles of this sherry were pro­duced to honour the mem­ory of Manuel. The name is a re­flec­tion of Manuel’s lit­er­ary in­ter­ests, it can be loosely de­fined as the back page of a book. The bot­tle is a hand blown crys­tal glass de­canter crafted by renowned Por­tuguese glass­mak­ers, At­lantis, who shaped it to re­sem­ble an inkpot, re­flect­ing Manuel’s love of art and po­etry. The bot­tle also in­cludes plat­inum plat­ing in the col­lar and Ver­sos is etched in gold leaf on the glass. It comes pack­aged in its own leather case, made by Span­ish crafts­men who also pro­duce fine leather work for var­i­ous com­pa­nies in­clud­ing Louis Vuit­ton, also in­cluded is a serv­ing ‘pipette’ which re­sem­bles the poet’s pen.

So the ques­tion on my mind is apart from the trap­pings is this sherry re­ally worth the $10k price tag. I chat­ted with Bar­badillo’s UK Di­rec­tor, Tim Holt to get the low­down on what it is that makes this liq­uid so pre­cious. “Sher­ries, un­like other wines, re­quire tremen­dous time and pa­tience, in or­der to pro­duce some­thing truly spe­cial, and a great ex­am­ple of this is the Ver­sos 1891,” he says.

He goes on to ex­plain, “When Manuel re­ceived the cask in 1891, the sherry was al­ready con­sid­ered to be an old Amon­til­lado. It was aged in an old Amer­i­can cask and watched over by many gen­er­a­tions, be­fore they de­cided to bot­tle it.”

The com­pany looked to the whisky in­dus­try, where the main play­ers were un­earthing aged whiskies and sell­ing them from $19K up­wards, they then de­cided to search their own cel­lars to see if they could make a prod­uct to chal­lenge the sherry mar­ket. Tim, con­tin­ues, “We were lucky that our cel­lars here in San­lu­car de Bar­rameda have high lev­els of hu­mid­ity, which is the per­fect con­di­tion nec­es­sary for the slow and bal­anced age­ing process of old sher­ries. And we de­cided to scour our cel­lars to find some­thing to shake up the sherry in­dus­try.”

And the taste?

Holt breaks it down for me, he says, “Ver­sos 1891 is a sherry which is full of in­ten­sity, it is in­cred­i­bly long on the palate, it has got a beau­ti­ful, full pun­gent nut­ti­ness, and you can tell the great the age of the wine, by the sheer in­ten­sity and depth of flavour and it just goes on for­ever.”

Tim’s pas­sion for the com­pany, for the sherry it­self are very clear to see, his face lights up and eyes shine when he dis­cusses the brand.

Ver­sos 1891 is unique and lim­ited, the main buy­ers have come from the UK, Asia, Rus­sia, Mex­ico, Spain and Aus­tralia.

So if you have a spare $10k lay­ing around and sherry is your tip­ple of choice, then Ver­sos is a good in­vest­ment, as it can only rise in value.

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