HANOI — The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is used to selling rooms and suites, exquisite dinners and bottles of vintage wine, some so precious they’ve fetched 100 million Vietnamese dong. But last week, the hotel trumped all previous luxurious moves with a bottle of vodka that costs a whopping 295 million Vietnamese dong.
The bottle of Beluga Epicure by Lalique hasn’t sold yet. It has been installed though, under lock and key, in a place of prominence in the hotel’s Angelina restaurant.
Borne of wheat from the Russian steppes and water tapped from Siberian bedrock, Epicure is a collaboration between Russian vodka company, Beluga, and French crystal maker, Lalique, which produces each crystal decanter by hand in the company’s workshops in Alsace, France. Master polishers then refine the contrast between the clear and satin-finished crystal, before engraving a serial number on the bottom of each decanter.
The decanters are then sent to the Mariinsk Distillery in Siberia, where Beluga production facilities have been producing vodka for more than 100 years. The vodka is made exclusively out of malted wheat, flavoured with vanilla and honey, and undergoes a ‘resting’ period of 100 days.
Beluga Epicure by Lalique was launched last year and is among the seven most expensive vodkas in the world. With only 1,000 crystal decanters produced, the limited-edition vodka is currently only available for sale in Vietnam at the Metropole.
Designed in an Art nouveau style, the decanters feature an enigmatic female nude figure surrounded by ears of wheat - a symbol of harvest and fertility.
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