Jean de Fontaney was appointed by King Louis XIV to set up a mission to China under the pretence of sharing scientific knowledge. The real reason for the mission, however, was to exert French and Catholic influence within the Chinese court. Jean de Fontaney assembled a group of five other Jesuits to accompany him – all highly skilled in sciences. The group arrived in China in February 1688.
Emperor Kangxi developed a great interest in western medicine after he contracted malaria at the age of 40 and became seriously ill, only to discover that no Chinese medicines could cure him. But Jean DeFontaney managed to cure the Emperor in July 1693 using quinquina. Following his recovery Kangxi ordered the Jesuits to translate as many western medical texts into Manchu as possible.
1693 – 1701
The Emperor instructs Jean deFontaney to make a medicinal liquor-based tonic using nine roots and herbs he has personally selected himself. It was no coincidence that nine ingredients were chosen, as nine is regarded as a particularly important number that is closely associated with the Emperor.
Lot number 128 goes under the hammer at an antiques auction. The lot is a chipped and cracked imperial Kangxi wine cup that was eventually bought for £300 by V.I.P Jiu 8 creator Irving Graham. Following months of research to prove its authenticity, the cup is re-sold at auction for £28,000. But not before surrendering a concealed note that would reveal the secret behind the UK’s first Imperial craft baijiu.
Irving Graham sets out on his Chinese adventure with a 5,772 mile train journey from Moscow to Beijing aboard the Trans-Siberian railway. A journey filled with great highs and life-threatening lows and of lasting friendships and learning. It was on his travels through China that Irving had his first ever taste of baijiu, and the idea behind bringing the centuries-old recipe for V.I.P Jiu 8 back to life was born.
After learning to appreciate and understand the importance of baijiu in Chinese society, Irving traveled back to the UK to attempt to revive the centuries-old Kangxi recipe. With the help of some brilliant academics and specialists and countless test batches to achieve the perfect balance of ingredients, V.I.P Jiu 8 was quietly launched in the UK in October 2019.
V.I.P Jiu 8 – The UK’s first authentic premium craft baijiu.
Want to find out more? Join Irving at the very start of his adventure HERE