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Cognac salvaged from 100-year-old shipwreck

Treasure hunters have explored a 100-year-old shipwreck to recover 65 cases of Cognac and liqueurs that were headed to Russia at the time of Nicholas II’s reign.

The bottles lay in the shipwreck for more than 100 years

The Ocean X Team discovered 50 cases of Cognac and 15 cases of liqueurs 77 metres below sea level inside cargo ship SS Kyros, which was sunk by a German submarine in 1917.

The shipwreck was first discovered in 1999 in international waters between Sweden and Finland, but the cases of alcohol only arrived in Sweden for further investigation last month. The ship had been damaged by fishing trawls and trawl boards, and divers needed to wait until the wreck was clear of nets before it could be fully explored.

The cases of alcohol were headed to St Petersburg from France via Sweden, but SS Kyros was sunk by German submarine UC58, the captain of which considered parts of the cargo to be contraband. All crew on board SS Kyros returned safely to Sweden.

“The importance of this event cannot be overemphasised – it’s not only a find of rare Cognac and liqueur but also a part of the history of the former imperial Russia,” said the Ocean X Team. At the time of the sinking, Tsar Nicholas II was Emperor of Russia. He was assassinated in 1918.

The Cognac has been identified as bottled by negociant De Haartman & Co, while the liqueur is believed to be Bénédictine, which is now owned by drinks firm Bacardi.

Petra Caspolin, marketing manager at Bacardi in the Nordics, said: “Bacardi, being the owner of the Bénédictine brand, a product that was created more than 500 years ago by French monks, is excited to hear about the find and is eager to learn if the product has been preserved for the duration of the stay under water.”

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