The newest addition to the Rolls-Royce fleet? Not a car, but a rather incredible Champagne chest

The good news, for those who've always fancied owning a Rolls-Royce but have never quite had the means, is that the company's latest creation is priced from £37,000. The bad news is that it has no wheels, no seats, no engine, and is used for chilling Champagne.

‘It’s reassuringly expensive,’ jokes Gavin Hartley, Head of Bespoke Design for Rolls-Royce, as he stands over his newest creation like a benevolent Pygmalion admiring his Galatea. The difference between his ancient predecessor and their respective creations is that this proverbial sculpture is not carved from marble but crafted from anodised aluminium and leather.

Traditionalists might raise an eyebrow — perhaps even both — at the very existence of the Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest. And those eyebrows might nudge still further upwards when they hear that, as part of this project, the iconic British company has gone into partnership with the Champagne owned by the rapper Jay-Z.

Yet nobody could deny that, as Champagne chests go, this one has been as diligently designed and manufactured as one of their luxurious vehicles. ‘The finest materials are married with pinnacle engineering to provide an experience like no other,’ Gavin promises, and it seems that he does not promise in vain. It’s an object that’s as functional as it is beautiful.

The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest - closed. Image courtesy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Designed to be the centrepiece of an elegant environment — from penthouse to terrace to garden party to yacht — the Champagne chest does exactly what is says on the box, and a few more things besides. Opening with the touch of a button and not a small dosage of theatre, the exterior lid of oak (which doubles as a handsome serving tray) raises to reveal a perfectly-arranged four-person Champagne set.

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Hand-blown glasses are presented in a style reminiscent of a V12 engine in the central chassis, while side pockets open automatically to reveal an elegant mixture of the magical trio of the aperitif world: Champagne, caviar and canapés.

The thermal Champagne coolers are perfectly appointed to take great care of your favourite tipple. Crafted from anodised aluminium and carbon fibre, they are designed to keep their precious cargo at optimal imbibing temperature for as long as one should need it to be so.

The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest - closed. Image courtesy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

For caviar lovers, two ‘caissons’ designed to fit 30g tins are accompanied by two blini caissons, fitting together like an elegant puzzle nestled in one of the hammock-like leather side pockets. For those who prefer a different array of snacks to accompany their bubbles, three porcelain bowls concealed in a similar thermal cylinder with a delightfully playful soft-touch opening can be swapped into one of the side pockets.

Everything about the Champagne chest is designed to be as tactile as a brand new car. Illustriously embroidered ‘RR’ napkins are hidden under the lid and two mother-of-pearl spoons accompany the caviar caissons.

The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest - closed. Image courtesy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The materials used throughout the chest will be exceedingly familiar to Rolls-Royce owners; the lid is a dashboard, the chassis a bonnet and the interior supple leather seats.

Naturally, as a Rolls-Royce product, personalisation is not only possible but actively encouraged; the team say that they envisage customers matching their chest to their car, and making all manner of alterations to ensure that it perfectly suits their own unique lifestyle.

The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest - closed. Image courtesy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

For the launch of the chest the Sussex car company has gone into partnership with Armand De Brignac Champagne, a fit which seems utterly ideal for this particular project. It’s a bubbly made by the ancient Cattier house based in Montagne de Reims, a business which has been in the Cattier family for 13 generations and over 250 years. Yet the Armand De Brignac Champagne itself has, like Rolls-Royce, moved into the 21st century apace: this bubbly, including their iconic Ace of Spades Champagne, is owned by Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter.

Jay-Z initially earned fame as a rapper, but his life and career have gone far beyond that today. His marriage to Beyoncé and canny business moves have almost made him a billionaire — and he’s got a well-documented love of famous French fizz that long pre-dates his purchase of Armand De Brignac a few years ago.

And nothing has changed in the production of the bubbly itself. Walk through the cellars and the unique gold colour of the bottles glows in the dim light of the extensive space, which was used as a shelter during World War II and has ceilings marked with  soot from the candles used to light the dark, damp rooms. Each rack is hand-turned daily to leave the necks of the bottles crystal-clear; a process too-often done by machine. A group of only 18 highly skilled people touch a bottle, from the pressing of the grapes to the moment the bottles leave the cellars.

Armand de Brignac cellars

The ‘Ace of Spades’ Champagne is meticulously produced in small quantities exclusively in the Cattier cellars. Finest grapes from the region are selected, regardless of cru, every season and sustainably picked, pressed and bottled. Each bottle contains a trio of vintages, bringing together unique characters from different harvests into one fruity, soft and balanced beverage.

Although Jay-Z’s rap empire and the quiet cellars of Cattier do not seem like a likely pairing, the entrepreneur’s influence has seen Armand de Brignac become a household name in the United States — even if, retailing at around £300 a bottle, it’s certainly not a household product. Again, you could say the exact same for Rolls-Royce.

The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest - closed. Image courtesy Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

All in all, then, the pieces of the jigsaw fit together rather well. This chest is designed to appeal to the car lover, the art lover, the Champagne lover and the epicurean, a delight for those who value the combination of function, whimsy and fresh gadgetry.

The Rolls-Royce Champagne Chest is available to acquire through Rolls-Royce dealerships, with prices starting from £37,000 excluding local taxes —