The 23rd bottling from the remarkable spirits curators The Last Drop is thought to be almost 100 years in age. A lone, dusty barrel of Pineau des Charentes lay at the back of dilapidated warehouse in Cognac for almost a century until it was uncovered during renovation works. Extraordinarily complex, the nose opens with a mosaic of notes: red grapes, freshly ground coffee, the tartness of blackcurrant jam, the warmth of worn leather and loose-leaf tobacco in a wooden jar. It develops into floral incense, a resinous violet with pine needles reminiscent of a forest floor. Phenomenally beautiful, it welcomes you to sit with it for a long time to discover its secrets. The first impression on the palate is how seamlessly silken it is – it’s exuberant, but with a rare elegance, too. Coffee cake and caramel is sharpened up by a creamy rhubarb, while star anise, nutmeg, dried citrus peels and aromatic rosemary are wrapped up in marzipan and icing sugar. There’s a floral influence with hints of rose and cherry blossom, but on the whole this is rich, with layer after layer of sultana, allspice, clove and even cardamom. A remarkable thing. Long, luscious and unctuous, the finish lingers on and on in its rhubarb and nutmeg richness.