Rare Hare is a new brand, having launched in 2022. But the spirits released under its banner date back years, even decades. The team behind Rare Hare searches out rare and unique casks, and also collaborates directly with established brands on releasing extraordinary aged spirits across the entire spectrum. They then do the liquid justice by telling its story and housing it in distinctive, elegant bottles. Any one of these elements, be it looks, backstory, or rarity, can make a spirit appealing to collectors and connoisseurs. Combine all three and the effect is practically irresistible.
Traveling To Another Continent… And Another Time
Rare Hare launched with its 1953 Anniversary Edition Bourbon, a liquid tribute to the year of the founding of the iconic Playboy magazine (Playboy’s parent company is a co-founder of Rare Hare). Aged for 17 years and finished in French cognac casks from Champagne, the bourbon set the tone for what was to come. Next up was a unique collaboration with Codigo Tequila, a stunning extra añejo expression aged in Napa Valley Cabernet barrels and finished in fine French oak Spanish Sherry-Fino casks. For its third release, Rare Hare crosses the Atlantic to France — namely, the remote village of Échebrune in the Petite Champagne region of Cognac.
This bottling also travels back in time, to 1961 and one of the most exceptional Champagne vintages of the 20th century. That year, the Herbelot family harvested the grapes, but realizing their quality, declined to sell them to an established cognac house for distilling and aging, as they customarily did. Instead, they distilled the eau-de-vie themselves using the traditional alembic method, and then set it down to age in small refill oak barrels. Refill oak imparts less of the tannins that, in the long run, can make a spirit taste overly spicy and astringent. These casks, along with the cool, wet cellar in which they rested, were the ideal environment for long aging — in this case, 60 years’ worth.
1,900 Bottles Of Liquid History
Those unique hors d’age casks were acquired by Spirits Investment Partners, Rare Hare’s parent company, and the final result is now available as Rare Hare Lapine — an extremely limited, unrepeatable edition of 1,900 bottles. The soil of Champagne region, composed of shells from the ancient seabed, gives this cognac an unparalleled depth and complexity. Bottled at 40.9% ABV, the terroir comes through in every sip of Lapine. The bright aroma is redolent of stone fruits and candied strawberries, while the palate features notes of citrus, orange zest, and honeysuckle, leading to a long, sweet finish. The liquid is housed in an elegant, sturdy crystal decanter, which is nestled in a satin-lined leather box.
A Bunny That Likes To SIP
Lapine means “doe” or “female rabbit” in French, and of course it’s inspired by the iconic Playboy rabbit logo. But it also represents a deeper connection to the Playboy lifestyle, which was peaking in the early ‘60s as the grapes that make up the cognac were harvested, and which is still a guiding ethos today. Equal parts irreverent fun and serious sophistication paired with breaking barriers and challenging norms, it’s a philosophy of life and how to live it. Fine wines and spirits were definitely part of the equation, but Playboy had never gotten involved with them directly until its owner, PLBY Group, Inc., partnered with Spirits Investment Partners (SIP) to form Playboy Spirits and the Rare Hare brand. SIP brought its expertise and deep knowledge of rare spirits to the table, while Playboy supplied the cachet of almost seven decades of groundbreaking media and hospitality experience, as well as its longstanding fight for freedom of expression and the idea that pleasure is a fundamental human right. In Lapine, the union bears rich, delicious fruit.
Rare Hare Lapine can be found online at Reserve Bar, or at select retailers — find one near you.