The question on everybody’s lips as the lunatics take over the marketing asylum at Penfold’s and offer an ampoule of 2004 Block 42 for £100,000 is whether it’s really an ampoule or should it more properly be called a vial? An ampoule typically contains a single dose of a drug to be injected by hypodermic syringe and the 750ml capacity of the Penfold’s ampoule means we’re talking elephantine patients.
An ampoule is not reusable, which a purchaser of what Decanter magazine describes as “a hand-blown glass ampoule that provides an ideal wine environment and a bespoke glass plumb-bob that suspends the ampoule within a wooden Jarrah cabinet” may assume. But seeing as though you have to wait for Penfold’s cellar master Peter Gago to pitch with his “specially designed, tungsten-tipped, sterling silver scribe-snap” sounds like there’s no possibility of cork taint but glass splinters cannot be ruled out. So yes, it is an ampoule rather than a vial.
But not in the same league as the crystal decanter (above) individually blown by David Reade that Van Ryn use as vessel for their recently released 30 year old pot still brandy called Au.Ra which retails at R14K a bottle or 1% of the cost of the Penfolds. Van Ryn went the vial route as each decanter (which is rumoured to have set Distell back R7K) comes with a hand-made stopper plus hand-made silver pendants from the atelier of Bridget Zietkewicz. Forget Jarrah, each Au.Ra is presented in a solid oak case – form following function as the spirit was aged in oak – each hand turned by James Mudge (below) who has designed stores for Ralph Lauren in London and New York. After all, one can take all this ethno-bongo stuff just so far.
Dear Mr Pendock, do forgive me, but I think you have made a rather embarrassing typo in your headline…. surely the spelling is ‘vile’ ?
Mr Pendock, please send me the contact details for these Penfold chappies… I think they have a promising future in Formula 1 trophy design.