Historian tasted ancient urine instead of 150-year-old ‘port’

An expert who a few years ago in the British version of the TV show “Richer than you think?” thought to taste a 150-year-old port or wine, turns out, in reality, to have drunk a sip of very old urine. Recent research into the contents of the antique bottle has shown that. In addition to the urine, it contained copper pegs and human hair, according to researchers at Loughborough University.

During the 2016 broadcast in Cornwall, historian and glass expert Andy McConnell carefully and out of sheer curiosity decided to insert a thin needle into the cork of the bottle. This allowed him to suck up the contents of the suspected bottle of drink and taste a little.

He concluded that the liquid didn’t really taste like port or wine, but ‘a bit rusty’. According to McConnell, the contents were probably spoiled or something other than the suspected alcohol.

Presenter Fiona Bruce of the Antiques Roadshow yesterday announced the results of the research to the great hilarity of TV viewers. “In no way was it about booze, but about human urine, mixed with a small amount of alcohol and copper and a hair,” said Bruce.

The bottle found in the village of Trelissick, Cornwall, was buried under the threshold of a house. “Most likely it’s a so-called ‘witch’s bottle’, meant to ward off evil spirits, misfortune, and setbacks from the house.”

Confronted with the conclusions of the study, ‘gourmet’ McConnell did not react shocked. Also because he only licked a drop of the contents of the bottle. “I still have absolutely no regrets. I was given the unique opportunity to taste it and I didn’t want to let that opportunity pass me by under any circumstances.”

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