The bottle club
Rarity by Vices, $975 annually
The back story
It often seems there are more wine clubs in existence than wine brands. But spirits clubs are a rarer breed, particularly ones devoted to hard-to-find (and often rather pricey) bottles. Perhaps that’s why Rarity by Vices, a club that launched in 2019, is so named.
Rarity, which offers quarterly shipments of everything from a prized Scotch to a super-aged tequila, is an extension of Vices, a lifestyle subscription-box program that features a bit of everything — food, toys, tech items, etc. Vices founder Dan Curtis saw that there was particular demand for spirits, so he created a separate entity for it. The goal, he says, is to deliver to club members “something that’s going to be hard for them to have” otherwise. Indeed, some of the Rarity offerings are exclusive to the program.
Rarity’s current quarterly bottle is a cognac from Coutanseaux Ainé, a storied, centuries-old producer of releases that are particularly difficult to spot in the U.S. It is an XO expression, which means it has been aged for several years. Similar cognacs can easily sell for about $750, leaving Curtis to suggest that a club membership is actually a value of sorts, because it includes three other shipments of spirits down the road. Either way, Curtis says the current bottle is one that “true cognac geeks will be impressed that you have.”
What we think about it
While we can’t vouch for all the Rarity releases to date, we can say we sampled the cognac and it is a truly stellar bottle. It has all the velvety appeal of a great brandy, with notes of cream and nuts, but with little of the astringency that sometimes mars a lesser cognac.
How to enjoy it
If you decide to join the club, you should savor this bottle by enjoying it neat and lingering over every sip. (It won’t hurt if you have a fireplace going in the background.) Better yet, if you’re looking for a special something to purchase this Father’s Day, a club membership might make a nice gift. Vices also has its main club, of course, and a cigar club as well.