Possibly still drinkable booze recovered from Russia-bound WWl shipwreck
BALTIC SEA—Hundreds of bottles of cognac and Benedictine liqueur that have been at the bottom of the Baltic Sea since 1917 have been brought to the surface- and might still be drinkable.
A group of underwater treasure hunters with Ocean X Team salvaged the booze from a ship sunk by a German submarine during World War I.
“The last shipment of rare liquors for Tsar Nicholas II’s Russia is now recovered,” Ocean X Team said in a released statement. “A search and salvage project that started 20 years ago is now completed. It was on the 22nd October the salvage vessel ‘Deepsea Worker’ arrived in Sweden with a shipload of more than 100-year old cognac and liqueur, brought up from the Swedish steamer ‘s/s Kyros!’”
The wreck was discovered in 1999 but had been heavily damaged by fishing trawls and trawl boards.
This October, with the help of unmanned underwater vehicles, the group managed to bring up 50 cases of cognac and 15 cases of Benedictine – an herbal liqueur – from about 250 feet below the surface in international waters between Sweden and Finland. According to Ocean X Team, the bottles were on their way from France to St Petersburg, Russia, which at the time was ruled by Czar Nicholas ll. Peter Lindberg with the Ocean X Team told CNN they aren’t sure the bottles were for the Czar himself, but were at least meant for the nobility around him.
Kyros met its dramatic fate when stopped by a German submarine in 1917. The German submarine captain had the boat sunk because its cargo was considered contraband, according to Ocean X Team. All of the crew was transferred to another ship and safely returned to Sweden, Ocean X Team said.
Benedictine is now owned by Bacardi and Lindberg told CNN they are working with the spirits company to try to determine the value of the haul. They are also working to determine if the alcohol is still drinkable. Some of the bottles have had their corks pushed in by the high water pressure while others are still intact.
“The importance of this event cannot be overemphasized – it’s not only a find of rare cognac and liqueur but also a part of history of the former imperial Russia,” Ocean X Team said in a released statement.