Hennessy: A short History

Born in 1765 in ~ the hands of an ireland military man named Richard Hennessy, the Hennessy brand name has controlled to stay rather relevant because that over 250 years. Purchased over time by other luxury brands favor Moet et Chandon, louis Vuitton, and even having actually connections v Christian Dior, Hennessy stays fixed in the lap that luxury.

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Background on Cognac

Many will call Hennessy a brandy; however, the is technically a cognac. Brandies, generally speaking, are any type of distilled soul made native fermented fruit. Cognac is a form of brandy do from grapes or wine.

Made in a region called Cognac, France, Hennessy is official a cognac. Through rule, cognac must be double distilled making use of a copper pot still. Cognac is often a mix of multiple Eaux-de-vie (literally an interpretation water the life yet referring come the distilled alcohol product with really fruity flavors). Cognac will invest time aging in Limousin or Tronçais oak casks and also the finished product must be 40% ABV.

Cognacs space Expensive...For a Reason

The reasoning behind the higher average price point can it seems to be ~ elusive but can really be pinned under to one thing: specificity of ingredients. Cognac have to be do in the Cognac region of France. That is forced to be made from white alcohol grapes get an impression in the region.

While various other spirits deserve to be made v inexpensive commodities like wheat, barley, or other cheap grains and products, cognac requires the premium ingredient of grapes get an impressive in a very specific place. In addition, cognac functions blends that multiple types of fermented product differing in age. Just put, cognac is expensive since it is make from expensive things.

Hennessy narrows the ingredient list down also further by utilizing the Ugni Blanc grape exclusively. The Ugni Blanc is defined as fruity, through some citrus notes, lending itself to being right for production into the Eaux-de-vie blends that will end up being cognac.

Supply and also Demand

In addition to expensive base ingredients, cognac is finding another reason to have a higher average price allude than other spirits. The is the old rule of supply and also demand. If need outweighs supply, climate the supplier can charge more for the product.

Cognac producers, including Hennessy (who wake up to make 40% that the complete cognac supply), have actually started having actually to hold back supplies as the need has increased to practically impossible proportions. For are afraid of to run out, cognac equipments are limiting gives being sent out out and are allocating gives to locations like China who consume the most.

With the said, Hennessy does ensure to produce offerings that room affordable come “normal” people. With the Hennessy VS and also newer Hennessy black color renditions, Hennessy renders itself obtainable to those who cannot afford a multi-thousand dissension bottle.

The huge Boys

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

Hennessy Paradis


Coming in simply under the $1000 price point, Hennessy Paradis is called after a timeless cognac term. The hatchet “Paradis” is used to explain the distinct hiding location cognac producers need to keep your oldest, many prized vintage cognacs. Imagine a cellar filled v old, dusty barrels teeming v aged cognac. This is Paradis.

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

Hennessy Paradis Imperial


The Paradis royal comes v a ton of historic strings attached. This mix traces that is roots all the way back to 1818. In ~ the inquiry of the Dowager Empress that Russia, Hennessy created this unique blend together a gift because that her child - a particular Tsar Alexander I.

How does this relate to the current Paradis Imperial? Well, master blender (and apparent background buff) Yann Fillioux made decision he would like to recreate this as soon as made masterpiece. After much research and utilizing some precious and old Eaux-de-vie, he was able to recreate the one time gift come the Tsar.

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

Richard Hennessy

Everyone wants to know what the many expensive bottle of Hennessy is. Fine it’s no a secret! Richard Hennessy top the charts in ~ a chuck $4000+. As described by Maurice Richard-Hennessy, one time CEO of the Jas Hennessy & Co., the is a blend of the Grands Siècles (a unique and also special blend of 100 Eaux-de-vie) some of which might date earlier to the 1800s.

Its namesake is clear THE Richard Hennessy, founder that what is currently the most popular cognac and largest producer in the world. Created in 1996, to respect the tradition of Richard Hennessy, it features blends indigenous 40 - 200 year of aging. All that aging way only one thing - that is expensive...and most likely quite a good cognac.

The Alphabet Explained

If we have all had actually a minute to catch our breath from several of those prices, let’s talk around the letter that assignment out part mysterious code on the bottles. In reality, that is no that tricky that a code. If you look at the price chart below, you deserve to see several Hennessy varieties followed by part letters. These letters room utilized throughout the cognac industry, for this reason you might see castle on other brands the cognac together well. Let’s look at what those letter mean:

Hennessy VS: Very Special; this shows that the youngest in the blend is at least two year old.

Hennessy XO: Extra Old; Be certain not to contact anyone XO the end there! as of April 2016, this method that the youngest in the blend is at least ten year old.

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Hennessy VSOP Privilege: Very Special Old Pale; indicates that the youngest in the mix is at least 4 years old; however, these are often much older blends.