The island of Ibiza has always been a rich depository of stories, scandal, excess and intrigue. Its one of my favourite hobbies to listen out for and collect these anecdotes, some true, others embellished and most just unbelievable. The island loves to gossip and talk, so for an inquisitive ear like mine, its a noisy Colosseum of tales and stories. One which caught my attention recently, was the tale about a €112,000 bottle of Champagne and its frantic dash from Paris to Ibiza that involved Helicopters, Cars, and Jets mimicking the classic John Candy and Steve Martin comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
The story goes, that a wealthy businessman was entertaining his friends on the roof of a well know upmarket Hotel in Playa den Bossa. On the menu was a Bottle of Armand de Brignac, a fine Champagne popular in electronic music culture and with celebrity performers like, Jay Z, who raised the profile of the brand with his aptly named video Show Me What You Got. The distinctive Gold bottle, defined by its pewter Ace Of Spades label, most probably a 30 liter Midas magnum, if the price tag is to believed, was ordered by the businessman who did not take long to empty it. So enamored with its velvet nectar, he decided to order a second bottle much to the dismay of Hotel management who only had just the one in stock.
Most establishments would have apologised and offered an alternative, but in classic Ibiza style, where money makes the impossible possible, a private jet was chartered to fly immediately to Paris and requisition a second bottle. A Helicopter was also on standby to meet the Armand on its arrival at Ibiza airport and fly it direct to the hotel, but that had to be canceled as clearance could not be found to land on Bossa beach. Instead a car was sent to collect it and rush it back to the Hotel. The frantic dash to secure the Armand, took less than two hours and the businessman was duly impressed when his Gold prize was unveiled in front of its adorning guests.
However there is a well known Ibiza proverb that claims “Ibiza can give you everything and at the same time, can take it all away again” and just as the host and his guests were licking their dry lips in anticipation of drinking some more fine Cuvee, the island decided to intervene. For when the delicate Bottle was opened, it exploded in a storm of bubbly frenzy, sending its expensive contents everywhere except the flutes of its owners. In the haste to deliver the Bottle, and without the direction of a Sommelier, the Armand had been handled unprofessionally and was not allowed sufficient time to settle before opening.
The story goes that after a stunned silence, all eyes and mouths were incredulously trained on the bottles owner who decided that laughter was the best way to avoid the awkward moment. Thankfully for Hotel Management, the businessman was not in a position to make a big deal about the little whoopsy and as money was no object, duly paid up his bill with a healthy tip added. While it may sound like an urban legend, it would not surprise me if this story has elements of truth involved, for Ibiza in the last decade, has become a playground for the elite. It is also said that the truth should never get in the way of a good story so I felt it would be remiss of me, not to have retold this one.