The Tappit Hen: insights from BBX


Is there a better time of year to drink Port than at Christmas? It’s just the thing to share around the table, especially when it comes in a larger format. Take this Tappit Hen. As custodians of the world’s largest privately owned collection of fine wine, we often discover bottles that encapsulate the eccentricities of the wine world. The story behind this rare bottle is shrouded in mystery, which is exactly what makes it so fascinating.  

The Tappit Hen is a bottle peculiar to Scotland, where it came into fashion in the 18th century. The measure would originally contain a “Scot’s pint” – equivalent to three modern-day imperial pints – but the agreed size of a Tappit Hen has evolved over the years. Sometimes it was used to refer to three quarts, sometimes as 2.1 litres, but it can most commonly be found as a 2.25 litre measure – also known as a tregnum.  

Although the tregnum and the Tappit Hen both measure up to three standard 75cl bottles, what distinguishes the two is their shape. While a tregnum looks like a conventional bottle shape, the Tappit Hen has a knob on top with an elegant curve reminiscent of a hen’s crest.  

There are multiple other theories as to how the Tappit Hen came to be known as such. Another is that the name is a derivative of the old French word “cuppetin”, as described by T.G. Shaw in his book Consumption of Wine in the United Kingdom, released in 1866. The cuppetin was the barrel carried by the vivandières, the wine-bearing men from the old French regiments.  

Another origin story hails from its native Scotland, where if you were to say you had a “Tappit Hen under your belt” you were guilty of having over-indulged in Claret – three pints, to be precise.   

Whatever the origin of the Tappit Hen, there’s no denying that this elusive bottle is a hard-to-find rarity in the fine wine market. Even more so, considering that only 600 cases of Stone Terraces were produced – barely any were put in a Tappit Hen – which makes the arrival of this bottle on BBX all the more exciting.  

Take a look at the Tappit Hen on For more information on listing your wines, placing bids or purchasing on BBX; please contact the BBX team at