I love a good show. That is why I love the concept of sabering a bottle of champagne (or any bubbly for that matter) instead of just popping open a cork. It is not a convenient practice, but it is an entertaining one. This is why I used M’s birthday as a clever excuse to buy one (for him of course).
The art of sabering a champagne bottle has it’s roots in Napoleons France. It is a practice developed by the French army to celebrate their many wins and to console the many losses. Napoleon is known to have said ‘Champagne! in victory one deserves it and in defeat one needs it’. I agree with those words, even if I don’t in general agree with Napoleon.
The sabering of the bottle happens by sliding the dull side of the sword along the neck and the seam of the bottle. With adequate pressure applied to the crossing of the seam and the lip of the bottle (the top of the neck), the neck pops off together with the cork. In a clean break, there is little loss of champagne, but one should always check the first glass poured for glass residue. This is a messy practice, and you can expect a few failures along the way (due to poor technique or poor quality of glass). At least you can expect to be mopping the floor even after a perfect swing. But when you get the hang of the technique, it is relatively easy to put on a good show.
I have only tried sabrage a few times. It has been a success from the start, but just to make sure, I only sabered some cheap bottles. And even so, just the loss of champagne would make me hesitate using a saber on something really nice. I think it might have been dumb luck, so I will not get too smug about it. However, I can tell you it is fun. Maybe it is the exhilaration of the risk of breaking the bottle or the loud pop from when the cork flies off, but it is a wonderful feeling when you can claim victory.
I selected this saber from Georg Jensen as I loved the simple, yet elegant design. The saber is light in the hand, but sturdy. It promises a good grip and that is what you need when you set out to give a firm blow on the lip of the bottle. It was not too pricey either, around 1200 SEK (130 EUR) which was less than other sabers on the market. I ordered this from the Georg Jensen webshop, who arranged the beautiful wrapping and home delivery. Unfortunately the experience was not all good as UPS screwed up the delivery with a week making me miss M’s birthday. Well, a present is a present, even if it comes late. M (or maybe me) is very excited about it and cant wait to start the exercises. Lets see how many laps we have left after the first week.