Hennessy: A short History

Born in 1765 in ~ the hands of an irish military guy named Richard Hennessy, the Hennessy brand surname has managed to stay fairly relevant for over 250 years. Purchased with time by other high-end brands like Moet et Chandon, luigi Vuitton, and even having connections with Christian Dior, Hennessy remains fixed in the lap of luxury.

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Background on Cognac

Many will contact Hennessy a brandy; however, the is technically a cognac. Brandies, usually speaking, are any type of distilled spirit made from fermented fruit. Cognac is a kind of brandy make from grapes or wine.

Made in a region called Cognac, France, Hennessy is officially a cognac. By rule, cognac have to be twin distilled using a copper pot still. Cognac is regularly a blend of lot of Eaux-de-vie (literally an interpretation water of life yet referring come the distilled alcohol product with an extremely fruity flavors). Cognac will spend time aging in Limousin or Tronçais oak casks and also the finished product need to be 40% ABV.

Cognacs space Expensive...For a Reason

The thinking behind the greater average price allude can it seems ~ elusive but can yes, really be pinned down to one thing: specificity that ingredients. Cognac need to be made in the Cognac an ar of France. It is required to it is in made from white alcohol grapes get an impression in the region.

While various other spirits have the right to be made through inexpensive commodities like wheat, barley, or other cheap grains and also products, cognac calls for the premium ingredient the grapes get an impressive in a very particular place. In addition, cognac attributes blends that multiple species of fermented product differing in age. Simply put, cognac is expensive because it is do from high-quality things.

Hennessy narrows the ingredient list down even further by utilizing the Ugni Blanc grape exclusively. The Ugni Blanc is defined as fruity, v some citrus notes, lending itself to being ideal for production into the Eaux-de-vie blends the will become cognac.

Supply and also Demand

In addition to expensive basic ingredients, cognac is finding an additional reason to have a greater average price suggest than other spirits. The is the old rule of supply and demand. If demand outweighs supply, climate the supplier deserve to charge much more for that is product.

Cognac producers, including Hennessy (who wake up to do 40% the the complete cognac supply), have actually started having to hold earlier supplies together the need has risen to almost impossible proportions. For are afraid of running out, cognac equipments are limiting offers being sent out out and are allocating provides to places like China that consume the most.

With the said, Hennessy go ensure to create offerings that room affordable come “normal” people. Through the Hennessy VS and also newer Hennessy black renditions, Hennessy provides itself easily accessible to those that cannot purchased a multi-thousand dollar bottle.

The big Boys

Speaking of bottles of Hennessy that price thousands of dollars, let’s take a look at closer at a pair of those offerings. Do not fear, over there is no charge for just talking around them...I hope.

Hennessy Paradis


Coming in simply under the $1000 price point, Hennessy Paradis is named after a classic cognac term. The hatchet “Paradis” is provided to explain the special hiding ar cognac producers have to keep their oldest, many prized vintage cognacs. Imagine a cellar filled through old, dusty barrels teeming with aged cognac. This is Paradis.

Given the name, one might assume the this blend features countless old, prized Eaux-de-vie among its ingredients. It would appear that the an ext finesse and also consideration a cognac requires, the greater its price may be. With that, stop look in ~ the older, wiser, an ext expensive (about 2 grand much more expensive, that is) brothers to Paradis: Paradis Imperial.

Hennessy Paradis Imperial


The Paradis imperial comes v a ton of historical strings attached. This blend traces the roots all the means back come 1818. At the inquiry of the Dowager Empress that Russia, Hennessy produced this unique blend as a gift for her son - a details Tsar Alexander I.

How walk this relate to the existing Paradis Imperial? Well, master blender (and apparent background buff) Yann Fillioux chose he would like to recreate this when made masterpiece. After lot research and utilizing some precious and old Eaux-de-vie, he had the ability to recreate the one time gift come the Tsar.

As we deserve to see, rarely blends, tough work, and historic background have the right to really ramp the price of a cognac up quite a bit.

Richard Hennessy

Everyone desires to know what the many expensive party of Hennessy is. Well it’s not a secret! Richard Hennessy top the charts in ~ a lining $4000+. As explained by Maurice Richard-Hennessy, one time CEO the the Jas Hennessy & Co., the is a blend of the Grands Siècles (a unique and special mix of 100 Eaux-de-vie) few of which may date ago to the 1800s.

Its namesake is clearly THE Richard Hennessy, founder of what is currently the most popular cognac and largest producer in the world. Developed in 1996, to honor the legacy of Richard Hennessy, it functions blends native 40 - 200 year of aging. All that aging way only one thing - that is expensive...and most likely quite a an excellent cognac.

The Alphabet Explained

If we have actually all had a minute to record our breath from few of those prices, let’s talk around the letter that assignment out part mysterious code on the bottles. In reality, the is no that tricky of a code. If girlfriend look in ~ the price chart below, you have the right to see several Hennessy varieties adhered to by part letters. These letters space utilized throughout the cognac industry, for this reason you may see lock on various other brands the cognac as well. Let’s look at what those letter mean:

Hennessy VS: Very Special; this suggests that the youngest in the mix is at the very least two years old.

Hennessy XO: Extra Old; Be sure not to call anyone XO out there! as of April 2016, this method that the youngest in the blend is at least ten years old.

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Hennessy VSOP Privilege: Very Special Old Pale; shows that the youngest in the mix is at least four years old; however, these are often much older blends.