An unlikely contender has risen to challenge the dominance of the world’s largest baijiu company. Irving Graham, an antiques dealer based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, made headlines recently with his remarkable discovery of an ancient recipe for baijiu, China’s national drink. Graham who also runs a Chinese antiques appraisals service stumbled upon the recipe hidden within the case of a cracked imperial wine cup, which he had acquired at auction for a modest sum of £300.
After conducting further research, Graham discovered that the cup was in fact a valuable artifact from the Imperial Chinese collection once housed in the Forbidden City during the reign of the Kangxi Emperor. He promptly sold the cup for a substantial profit of £28,000, and devoted months to meticulously recreating the original baijiu recipe, containing nine ingredients hand-selected by the Emperor himself.
The resulting baijiu, named V.I.P Jiu 8 baijiu, underwent a comprehensive scientific analysis against Moutai, the world’s leading baijiu brand produced by Kweichow Moutai. The analysis was conducted by a United Kingdom Accreditation Service laboratory and concluded that V.I.P Jiu 8 was “considerably more complex” and possessed “many more compounds with positive attributes” compared to its larger competitor.
Herbal remedies containing alcohol have a rich cultural heritage in China, and the nine ingredients used in V.I.P Jiu 8 were chosen to promote balance and wellness within the body, specifically targeting the stomach, spleen, lung, kidney, and heart. The scientific analysis found that V.I.P Jiu 8 was brimming with beneficial compounds, including terpinenes, renowned for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Despite Kweichow Moutai’s significant investments in refining their baijiu recipe, with a team of scientists dedicated to perfecting their product, the results of the analysis demonstrate the superiority of the 300-year-old recipe discovered by Graham. He acknowledges the cultural and historical significance of Kweichow Moutai, but also notes that “it is staggering to think that an antiques dealer from England with no baijiu experience can resurrect a recipe that is historically superior and scientifically proven to be far more complex.”
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