MARIEHAMN, Finland — An accent of mushrooms merged with sweet notes of honey in a sampling Wednesday of what's been billed as the world's oldest champagne, salvaged from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea.
An expert who tasted the vintage bubbly was lyrical, detecting hints of chanterelles and linden blossom.
An Associated Press reporter, who also sampled a bottle, found only a slight fizz and flavors of yeast and honey.
More must-see stories
The champagne — of the brands Veuve Clicquot and the now defunct Juglar — was recovered from a shipwreck discovered in July near the Aland Islands, between Sweden and Finland. A total of 168 bottles were raised in the salvage operation, officials of the semiautonomous Finnish archipelago told reporters on Wednesday.
"All bottles are not intact but the majority are in good condition," said Britt Lundeberg, Aland's culture minister.
The divers originally said the bottles were believed to be from the 1780s but experts later dated the champagne to the early 19th century. The exact years have not been established.
French champagne house Perrier-Jouet, a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, has earlier stated that their vintage from 1825 is the oldest recorded champagne still in existence.
More from TODAY.com
Hillary Clinton: Granddaughter led me 'to speed up' political plans
Clinton said she is inspired to keep working to ensure that Charlotte and her generation are provided equal opportunities ...
- Lauren Hill, inspirational college basketball player, dies
- Marathon dad's victories help raise money for son with spina bifida
- Will it work on Vale? Savannah tries tissue sleeping trick at home
- Listen to the chilling 911 call Sandra Bullock made during break-in
- Hillary Clinton: Granddaughter led me 'to speed up' political plans
After a presentation of the diving operation, an archaeologist wearing white gloves presented one bottle of Juglar and another of Veuve Clicquot to expert Richard Juhlin, who sampled both in front of scores of journalists.
"Great! Wonderful!" he exclaimed. Then he paused.
"I think what strikes you the most is that it's such an intense aroma," he continued. "It's so different from anything you've tasted before."
About 20 other people, including an AP reporter, were also given a chance to sample one of the two bottles. The AP got three mouthfuls of Juglar, a cloudy yellow liquid with tiny pieces of cork and just a few bubbles.
The dominant flavors were yeast and mushrooms, with sweet undertones of honey.
Veuve Clicquot confirmed that experts analyzing the branding of the corks "were able to identify with absolute certainty" that at least three of the recovered bottles were Veuve Clicquot.
More fun food stories
The champagne house, founded in 1772, said the branding featured a comet, added to pay tribute to one that crossed the skies of Champagne in 1811 "and was rumored to be the cause of a harvest of remarkable quality."
Francois Hautekeur, of Veuve Clicquot's winemaking team, described the champagne as "a toasted, zesty nose with hints of coffee, and a very agreeable taste with accents of flowers and lime-tree."
Juhlin found it Chardonnay-like.
"Surprisingly for me the Veuve Clicquot has a lot of green notes," he said. "Among the strongest are linden blossoms and lime peels."
Some of the bottles will be sold at an auction, where Juhlin said they could fetch more than $70,000 apiece.
© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.