In 2006 the ship Götheborg set sail from Gothenburgh, bound for Guangzhou and Shanghai. The ship, a replica of a 1740s trading ship had taken decades to complete by dedicated enthusiasts who fashioned each nail and each wooden detail on the ship in accordance with the techniques of the 1700s.
In the 1740s cognac had its big breakthrough in the café culture in London and quickly spread to the furthest corners of the British empire as well as to all places where the British were trading. These long sea voyages bestowed a remarkable quality on the cognac.
KELT was proud to be a part of this fantastic project which was a great cooperation between Sweden and China. We were equally proud to be the only ”merchandise” carried on board during the whole sea voyage of 10 months. Upon arrival, one barrel of a special KELTGötheborg blend was offloaded in Guangzhou and one in Shanghai.
The cognac was used for the King’s dinner and also auctioned for charity. The bottles fetched between USd 1,500 and 16,000 in auction. We have saved 110 litres of this unique blend which will be sold very sparingly starting in 2016.
Until the end of the 19th century all cognac was exported in oak barrels. It is a known fact that the cognac developed remarkably during these long sea voyages. The cognac, which was delivered to Canton and Shanghai in the early 19th century, was very different from the cognac that left France many months earlier. During the long sea voyage the cognac changed and aged significantly more than during normal ageing in France. The age profile of the cognac changed by more than 10 years during the long sea voyage and it became much more mellow and complex.
Early in the last century came the age of brands. Cognac was then exported in bottles with the exporters name on the label – the brand. At this point the magical effect of the sea voyage was lost, as cognac does not mature once it is bottled. The ancient and traditional taste, which was so loved by the Shanghainese in the 1800s was lost – until now.
KELT wants to revive a quality long forgotten by sending all our cognac on a long sea voyage while still in oak barrels. Most of the time a full Tour of the world is made, lasting over three months. The cognac leaves from France, making a full tour of the world and is bottled upon its return to France. This Ocean Maturation creates an incredibly smooth cognac, which is recognized internationally for its very high quality and complexity. For exemple KELT XO Was the first XO ever to get a Platinum Medal in the World Spirits Championships (1995) and til date only one other small brand has been granted this honour.
The most recent exemple of this Ocean Maturation is in the barrels that were onboard the Ship “Götheborg” and that has sailed 10 months from Sweden to Canton and Shanghai. It surpasses in quality even the award-winning KELT XO.
We use only cognac from the best growing area, Grand Champagne. Our cognacs are aged longer than others and much longer than the industry recommendations. These venerable cognacs then embark on their final stage of maturation, the Ocean Maturation. At least 3 months at sea blends the KELT cognac beautifully and increases the age profile approximately 10 years. The sea voyage also affects the wood in a very beneficial way, persuading the Limousin oak to impart its most delicate qualities in a way, which cannot be achieved in normal maturation on land. This makes KELT cognac truly unique.
“We were extremely honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to be part of the exciting adventure which is Götheborg. Our family hails from Sweden and our cognacs travel the seas for their final maturation just as cognac did in the 1740s when the first Götheborg sailed to China. It was natural for us to take part. Götheborg is a fantastic endeavour manifesting the friendship between the Chines and Swedish people and a celebrating a mutually beneficial past and future business between us.
We are proud that the only cargo carried onboard Götheborg was two barrels of a very special KELT cognac. This is a unique cognac which will not, and cannot, be produced again and it is unique in that it has travelled onboard Götheborg during her maiden voyage to China. This voyage took 10 months, which is longer than the time it took in the 17th and 18th centuries.