An antiques expert in England has learned (the hard way) not to jump in where angels fear to taste.

Glass specialist Andy McConnell inspected a sealed bottle from the 19th century on the BBC show [Antiques Roadshow], and decided to sample its mystery contents in front of an expectant audience.

. . .

Mr McConnell used a syringe to transfer a sample from the bottle to a tumbler, and sipped at the mystery beverage.

“It’s very brown,” he told the audience at the time.  “I think it’s port. It’s port or red wine, or it’s full of rusty old nails and that’s rust.”

In a programme broadcast on Sunday, Fiona Bruce delivered bad news to the specialist, after experts at Loughborough University had analysed the contents of the bottle.

She said:  “You thought it might be port or wine.  That would have been nice. Inside were these brass pins.

“The liquid: urine, a tiny bit of alcohol, and one human hair.”

The bottle also contained a small shelled creature, in what Bruce announced was a measure to keep evil away.

She said:  “What this was was not a bottle of port or wine, but a witch’s bottle, buried in the house as a talisman.”

There’s more at the link.

I suppose one could ask a sommelier to confirm that, but I think it would be smellier rather than sommelier!  It’d certainly be the urination of you . . .



  1. Neon Madman, Someone who doesn't know the history of alchemy and some of the substances used by alchemists, nor the prevalence of poisoning in earlier times. Considering the potential substances that could have been in the bottle, he actually got one of the the least unpleasant.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *