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Napoleon Cognac
Napoleon Cognac  
I know this is a long shot as the picture I'm attaching is not that good.  This bottle was displayed on an old episode of Magnum PI.  Is it a prop label or is this an actual bottle.  If it is a actual bottle do you have some information on it?

Thanks in advance for your consideration!

Answer
Hi Neil

What a great question! Of course, Napoleon was a huge fan of Cognac, and his favorite, according to legend, was Courvoisier. But any modern bottle of "Napoleon" Cognac is going to have the brand name, (Courvoisier, Remy Martin) in bigger print. So I am suspicious.  That label is an awfully good condition.   

And then there is the problem of the shape of the bottle.  This one seems to have the somewhat squarer shoulders of a typical modern Cognac or brandy bottle--but the original Cognac Napoleon from 1811 was in a slope-shouldered Burgundy bottle.

In that original version, by the way, central seal showed an engraving of Napoleon, not the letter "N."  Here's a link to a photo of one of those bottles:

http://www.winestore.co.uk/shop/info_HFW1.html

Finally, the neck label in the photo is clearly of more modern production---it has a glossy black and gold ink on it---not something one would see on an older bottle of Cognac.

So the answer to your question is?  Well, if you want to know if this is truly a bottle of 200 year old Cognac: it is not.  

Is it a prop?  Maybe.  It might also be a small production run dating from a few years ago, and produced by some lesser house that simply tried to capture some of the feeling of the original.  

My best guess?  It's a prop.  They created it to be more visible than the original, so that it would show up better on the show.  

That's not to say anything about what was inside---but if my experience with actors is anything to draw on, it may well have been tea inside...you can sip tea all day and still remember your lines!

Hope that helps

Paul Wagner

Beverages

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Paul Wagner

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I have spent most of my adult life eating and drinking throughout the world, and can usually remember some of it! With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, I host a radio show and podcast called Bottletalk at rickandpaulwine.com, where I answer questions about food and drink on the air.

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30 years in the business.

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I have taught at Napa Valley College for the past 20 years.

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Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines Company, The Court of Master Sommeliers, Constellation Wines, The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Vinitaly, Napa County Agricultural Commissioner.

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