Why I spent $166 on a bottle of booze

I’m a copywriter. I know the power of words. They can be used to start wars, start romances, and of course to start sales, too. For example…

When Mark Ryan and I were in LA at the little Italian restaurant I wrote about in my last post, I asked the owner if he ever heard of a rare green colored bitter Italian liqueur translated as “101 herbs.” My second-generation cousin, a Catholic priest in Corpus Christi, Texas, showed me a bottle of it almost thirty years ago. I never forgot it. I also never saw it again. But whenever I meet a pure old world Italian, I ask about it.

The owner never heard of it. But days later Mark did some online research and found something close to it. He sent me the link. It didn’t take much time for me to order the bottle — even though it cost me $166. Here’s the copy that sold me:

“Chartreuse is a unique and extraordinary product rich with history and fascinating lore. This herbal liqueur is produced by monks of the Carthusian order whose magnificent monastery is situated in the French Alps.

In l605 the residents of Chartreux obtained a secret formula to make an “Elixir of Long Life” from plants and flowers growing in the mountains. The formula was gradually perfected and, in 1737, the Elixir, which led to today’s Chartreuse, was released to the world.

Only three monks are responsible for the production; each monk knows only part of the formula. Chartreuse is the only liqueur to be aged in oak vats – and the only one to give its name to a color! Chartreuse V.E.P. (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolong) is made using the same secret formula as the traditional liqueur, with the addition of extra long ageing in oak casks until mellowed to an exceptional flavor.

Each bottle is carefully closed with a wax-sealed cork, and the back label is wax stamped with the Chartreuse seal, before shipping in a wooden box marked with a branding iron. The most mellow of the Chartreuse liqueurs. Mild herbal and floral aromatics. Flavors of honey, saffron, sage, licorice, vanilla, citrus rind, anise, cardamon, white pepper, and many more linger on the palate in a smooth finish.”

Re-read the above and notice what pops out:

  • It involves a secret formula from 1605
  • “Elixir of long life” (re: fountain of youth)
  • Only three monks know the formula — and each only knows part of it.
  • It’s shipped in a wooden box branded with a heated iron

This is the stuff of hypnotic copy. Couple the near excellent writing with my long desire to find the rare and mysterious “101 herbs” bottle and you’re on the way to a sale.

But what about the price?

Each bottle cost $166.

Why would I spend so much on a bottle I never heard of before?

I justifed the purchase by telling myself my birthday is December 29th, so why not give it as a gift to myself?

I’ve said this time and time again for over twenty years but it’s worth repeating:

People buy for emotional reasons and justify their purchase with a rationalization.

The rare bottle of booze appealed to my emotions. Getting it for myself as a birthday present was my “logical” reason to spend the money.

But look: It all comes down to copy. Had the copy been lousy or incomplete, I wouldn’t have spent $166 for a bottle of booze — the most I have EVER spent — and I wouldn’t be writing this post to you. The words ignited the desire within me, and my mind did the rest to rationalize the purchase.

If you want more sales, learn how to write hypnotic copy. Get my software at http://www.hypnoticwritingwizard.com/ and/or my definitive guide to learning it all at http://www.hypnoticmarketingstrategy.com/

And to get that expensive, rare, secret Chartreuse liquor (you know, for your birthday), see http://www.internetwines.com/rws23800.html

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joe “Mr. Fire” Vitale

PS – To help you improve your copywriting skills, you might also check out Randy Gage’s “Copywriting Secret Manual” at http://www.TheCopywritingCourse.com


  1. The 100 Grand A Month Club-Reply
    November 26, 2005 at 7:19 am

    Hi Joe,

    Ernest O’Dell from Blanco, Texas here.

    Good to see that you have your own blog now. I’m surprised you didn’t get into this much earlier.

    I don’t know how they work, but it seems like the blogs make the spider bots go crazy!

    I’m looking forward to hearing more from you. Send me the XML for your RSS and I’ll keep you in my Pluck list.

    Get back to me sometime and let’s chat!

    Ernest O’Dell
    Blanco, TX 78606
    Phone: 830-833-0287

  2. vie dans le village-Reply
    November 26, 2005 at 7:20 am

    Joe I love your blog, and expecially your story about the wine, because I now live not far from where it is produced. It is truly beautiful up in those mountians, we take a drive up there in summer. It’s a little too cool for this sub tropical Australian to venture there in winter!
    have a fun filled fantastic day

  3. Mack Collier-Reply
    January 4, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    “People buy for emotional reasons and justify their purchase with a rationalization.”

    Bingo. I feel smarter for having read that, and dumber for not having thought of it first.

  4. vie dans le village-Reply
    January 4, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Joe I love your blog, particularly as I now live not far from where your special wine is produced. It is absolutly beautiful in those mountians. We take a drive up there in summer, it’s a little too chilly for this sup-tropical Australian in winter!
    Thank you for your informative newsletters

  5. vie dans le village-Reply
    January 4, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Joe I love your blog and in particular because I know live not far from where your special wine is produced! It’s absolutly beautiful up in thoses mountians, we take a drive up there in summer, truley awesome. It’s a little too fresh for this sub tropic Australian to handle in winter.
    Thank you for all your newsletters and enjoy that wine

  6. Char-Reply
    April 21, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Thats cool. I was named after the chartreuse liqueur.

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