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Final Cheers to Freddie: Mercury's Home Bar, Wines Up For Bid On Sotheby's

 

Freddie Mercury – where do you even begin with a name that resonates so loudly across the corridors of rock history? The flamboyant frontman of legendary rock band Queen, known for his vocal range and timeless hits like Bohemian Rhapsody lived his life with passion and intensity – even sneaking Princess Diana out of the palace, dressed as a man, to the nightclub. As they say, a candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and damn bright did Freddie burn in his prime.

 

 

Imagine kicking back and grabbing a drink with the legendary Freddie Mercury, trading stories over a champagne or wine. While that remains my pipe dream (until I potentially meet Freddie in hell), we could still get the next best thing. This month, Sotheby's London is putting everything inside Mercury’s former house in London under the hammer. This includes a vast collection of items that Mercury once held dear - art pieces, personal possessions and antiques.

 

 

But as drinks lovers, let’s focus on the juicy bits. Part of this vast collection includes Freddie’s wine cellar, drinkware and his favourite bar furniture. Now, let’s get a closer look at what’s available!

Vintage Dom Perignon from the Cellar of Freddie Mercury

Champagne is one of Mercury’s favourite afternoon booze, and wouldn’t you want to own a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon that Mercury himself would have enjoyed?

This lot includes two bottles of vintage Dom Pérignon, the world's most iconic Champagne under Moët & Chandon's prestige cuvée. The first is a Dom Pérignon 1985, considered one of the best vintages of the 1980s for Champagne due to favourable weather, giving it a harmonious balance of ripe fruits and acidity. The 1985 vintage could still be aged a little further.

There’s also a Dom Pérignon 1978 that came from a more challenging vintage due to uneven weather, but would have developed deeper tertiary flavours due to its significant bottle aging.

Vintage Bordeaux wines from the Cellar of Freddie Mercury

Next up, we have three Bordeaux red wines from Freddie’s wine cellar. The most desirable is none other than the Château Léoville Barton 1982, from one of the most highly respected estates in Saint-Julien, valued for its structure and shelf longevity. The grapes used are mostly Cabernet Sauvignon. Château Léoville Barton’s wines are known to have excellent aging potential. So this bottle from the 1980s should still be in a suitable window for further aging today.

There’s also the very desirable Château Canon 1982, from another prominent estate from Saint-Émilion, beloved by Merlot drinkers for its lush fruitiness, balance and approachability. Finally, there’s the Château Cissac 1982, which is made from primarily Cabernet Sauvignon.

It’s worth noting that all of these bottles are of the 1982 Bordeaux vintage, which is famously considered one of the best vintages, especially from the Left Bank region of Bordeaux (the Léoville Barton and Cissac are from the Left Bank). The ideal weather conditions of the year give rise to a very good depth, complexity and structure in these wines.

Freddie Mercury’s Personal Bar

 

 

But there's more for those of us looking to set up a home bar that would grant us a lifetime of bragging rights. Everything from Mercury’s bar would be up for grabs, from the bar furniture, bar stools, to even barware once owned by Mercury such as whisky glasses, vodka shot glasses, beer mugs, jiggers and cocktail shakers.

There’s his collection of Victorian-era wine glasses and a set of decanters including a Baccarat crystal whisky decanter. And not to mention a beautiful set of traditional Meiji-era sake-drinking saucers from Japan.

Antique Vases from Artisans Beloved by Whisky Makers

We feel it’s worth mentioning that Mercury had also amassed a very sizable collection of rare crafted vases and porcelain made by the same artisans often appointed to create ultra-premium limited edition whisky bottles by The Macallan, Glenfiddich, Suntory and Nikka.

Antique Monnaie du Pape vase made in 1914 by the founder of Lalique Group himself, René Lalique.

 

Most obvious from looking at the collection is Freddie Mercury’s love for Lalique’s exquisite vases, for which there are numerous pieces in his collection. Incidentally, The Macallan often partners with Lalique to create crystal decanters and bottles for its most exclusive collections.

The late René Lalique is perhaps the most famous French glassmaker in history known for creating incredibly clear and precisely detailed glassware and vases, and the Lalique company continues to be known by his reputation. In his life, Mercury was good friends with the late Marie-Claude Lalique, the third generation owner of the Lalique family of glassmakers. Here is another beautiful vase in Mercury’s collection made by René Lalique himself in 1920.

There’s also a set of vintage Wedgwood Jasperware bowl and jars in Mercury’s collection. Founded in the 1700s, Wedgwood is England’s most prominent pottery and ceramic maker in operation for over 260 years. Throughout its history Wedgwood has collaborated with many notable luxury brands, including Glenfiddich Distillery for a 21 Year Old Single Malt released in a “Wedgwood Blue” ceramic decanter.

 

(Source: The Whisky Exchange)

 

To my uncultured modern eyes, the artistry of this Glenfiddich bottle’s design is lost on me as it frankly seems tacky, like something one could purchase from Disneyland. But to each their own.

There are also some highly sought-after Japanese porcelains in the collection from names that have done prestigious collaborations with the likes of Suntory and Nikka. Within Mercury’s collection of Arita ware, here’s an elegant set of two bowls from the 1900s, decorated with lotus flowers and a blue glaze image of a carp in tempestuous waters.

Arita porcelain is made by the town of Arita in Kyushu, often with blue and white decorative elements inspired by Chinese ceramics.

Finally, the collection includes a stunning Kutani covered bowl from the Showa – Heisei period, with decorative Japanese phoenixes and cranes on the side.

Suntory has released ultra premium expressions made by Arita and Kutani ceramic makers, including the magnificently crafted Hibiki 35 Year Old Arita Kutani set.  

 

 

Nikka has also released rare expressions in Arita ware, including one that confusingly resembles a bottle of Chinese baijiu. The Super Nikka Arita Ryuku Island Map Edition comes in an Arita ceramic bottle bearing a hand-painted map of Ryuku Island.

A Man of Eclectic Tastes

Freddie dining at home with his friends.

 

We’re just scratching the surface. This is in fact one of Sotheby’s largest auction series, with 35,000 items and 1,500 lots, on par with the grand auctions of Elton John, Andy Warhol and King Edward VIII (the one who abdicated the crown).

 

The massive collection reveals much about the beloved Freddie’s eclectic tastes outside of just music, with a keen interest in various forms of art pieces, vintage wine and other ornaments. So if you’ve got the means, this might just be your chance to own a slice of rock history!

All of the above-mentioned items and many more would be available (some lots are already available for bidding) in a series of auctions at Sotheby’s that would respectively close on the 6th, 7th, 8th, 11th, 12th and 13th of September 2023. Interested bidders for Freddie's wine cellar are to note that specific lot would fall under the auction of 8th September.

Let's give a final cheers to the man, the icon, the legend that is Freddie Mercury!

@CharsiuCharlie