Ace of Spades Champagne
Armand de Brignac
Some days I wake up and feel I must have been living in a box the last few years. Today is one of those days, as I puzzle over Armand de Brignac's Ace of Spades champagne and the fact that until one of my friends casually mentioned it, I had never heard of it.
So after their glowing review and finding out that the celebrity world is ablaze with bottles of it, I just had to find out more about it. Because as is my nature and to quote a bad guy from the movie Dirty Harry, 'I got to know'.
Where did Armand de Brignac come from?
Ace of Spades Champagne is launched on the world
I didn't feel quite so bad not knowing of Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades champagne when I discovered that it had only been in existence since late 2006 when it made its debut in a Jay-Z video where he was presented with a bottle of the hitherto unknown tipple in a silver briefcase, thus replacing his champagne of choice, Cristal. (Apparently due to a racial slur delivered towards him from the Cristal brand.)Fashionista quickly noticed this change and within a couple of days Armand de Brignac announced it was their new luxury brand of bubbly.
Ace of Spades - Would You?
Would You Buy a Bottle to Celebrate a Special Occasion?
Grapes - The Basic Ingredient
So what's it made of?
Better yet what does it taste like?
A bottle of Armand de Brignac Brut Gold is typically made up of 40% chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, and 20% Pinot Meunier grapes. Two later releases, a Ros and a Blanc de Blancs are composed of 100% Chardonnay.As for how the champagne actually tastes, well I will defer to the well known magazine, 'Fine Champagne', who in 2009 organised a blind tasting of 1,000 wines by the most respected wine critics and sommeliers in a tightly controlled environment. At the end of the tastings the surprise winner was the Armand de Brignac champagne.It's fame and exclusivity was further cemented by this result, to the point where mere mortals like us were reduced to bidding on Ebay for empty bottles or popped corks, just to impress our friends.
Jay-Z. The Brands No1 Fan
This is where exclusivity, human desire for one-upmanship and the basic cost of manufacturing something from an item so readily available such as a grape comes in to conflict. It is said that if the DeBeers company lost control of the diamonds market tomorrow, the diamond price would fall dramatically overnight as those shiny little rocks aren't quite as rare and desirable as we have been brain washed to believe.
This is very much the same in the champagne market where aspirational brands such as Armand de Brignac (as well as your Cristals, Bollingers, etc) charge a premium price for a basic product to give the consumer a feeling of luxury and exclusivity whilst consuming or using their product. It is an illusion, but one some people are quite happy to pay for, and wow you do get to pay for it. A 30 litre bottle of Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades champagne sells in nightclubs in Las Vegas for $150,000 (including a 20% gratuity!).
Forbes magazine states that the last bottle sold wasn't even drunk by the purchaser, he shook it up and sprayed the contents all over the club. That equates to buying a new Porsche, leaving the showroom and driving it into a tree. Oh and the wholesale price of the bottle was a 'paltry' $70,000. (All figures are in US dollars.)
A standard bottle of Ace of Spades champagne will set you back several hundred dollars and the most expensive ever sold was to the brands number one fan Jay-Z, for the princely sum of $250,000.
Ace of Spades champagne is a triumph of brand awareness and aspirational consumerism, as the approximate cost of manufacturing a 750ml bottle is $12. Don't let anyone tell you capitalism is dead!