October 21, 2011

Connoisseur's Dilemma

Connoisseur's Dilemma is a cute disentanglement puzzle by Creative Crafthouse that can hold a bottle of wine hostage until solved. It was given to me by the folks at Creative Crafthouse to review. Thanks!

I have seen puzzles like this available from a number of places, but never had a chance to give one a try. I figured it probably wouldn't be too challenging since it was intended for mass-market appeal, but who knows? The craftsmanship of this one is quite good, with a nice smooth finish on the wood and good quality rope.

As you may expect, it comes disassembled to save space and so they don't need to ship it with a plastic bottle or something. The rope is conveniently adjustable for different sized bottles, but the way it came was a good length for the wine bottle I had handy.

My wife, Kellian, was kind enough to assemble it for me so I could try taking it apart. First she tried using the included paper instructions, but she found the diagrams too small and hard to follow and gave up after about 10 minutes. Luckily, they also have a great video showing you how to assemble it that is much easier to follow. With this, she was able to get the wine bottle trapped in a few minutes.

Since I have done a number of puzzles like this, I made pretty short work of it, I think it took me a minute or so. However, I would imagine that it could take less puzzle-inclined folks a good amount of time, since one of the moves is a bit un-intuitive if you haven't done a puzzle like this before! So I definitely think it would make a good gift to a somewhat patient wine-aficionado.

I'm not sure who designed this particular puzzle, but it is also available through Family Games for a similar price. Family Games also has a few other puzzles in the same vein. Here's one you can build yourself over at Instructables if you are so inclined. Creative Crafthouse has another version that is smaller (for beer bottles and such), as well as a completely different version called Connoisseur's Dilemma 2 which looks pretty interesting as well!

[Update: It turns out that François Vachon designed this puzzle. Thanks to commenter Daniel below for the information!]

Overall Connoisseur's Dilemma is a nice little puzzle that would make a great gift.


  1. Hello Brian,
    That puzzle was invented by François Vachon who live close to Montreal, Quebec, Canada. That puzzle was patented in 2008(Pat: US74486270) but I got my copy in 1997. I think he sold the rights to Family Games (Toys International). It is a very popular puzzle. Have fun!


  2. Thanks for the info, Daniel! I'll update the post with that information.


Please don't post spoilers! Thanks for commenting!

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