Hennessy: A short History

Born in 1765 in ~ the hands of an ireland military male named Richard Hennessy, the Hennessy brand surname has controlled to stay fairly relevant for over 250 years. Purchased with time by other deluxe brands like Moet et Chandon, luigi Vuitton, and also even having connections through Christian Dior, Hennessy continues to be fixed in the lap the luxury.

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Background top top Cognac

Many will contact Hennessy a brandy; however, that is technically a cognac. Brandies, typically speaking, are any type of distilled heart made indigenous fermented fruit. Cognac is a type of brandy do from grapes or wine.

Made in a region called Cognac, France, Hennessy is officially a cognac. By rule, cognac must be double distilled making use of a copper pot still. Cognac is frequently a blend of multiple Eaux-de-vie (literally an interpretation water of life however referring come the distilled wine product with very fruity flavors). Cognac will spend time aging in Limousin or Tronçais oak casks and also the finished product have to be 40% ABV.

Cognacs space Expensive...For a Reason

The thinking behind the greater average price allude can it seems to be ~ elusive yet can really be pinned down to one thing: specificity that ingredients. Cognac need to be do in the Cognac an ar of France. The is forced to be made indigenous white wine grapes grown in the region.

While various other spirits deserve to be made v inexpensive products like wheat, barley, or various other cheap grains and also products, cognac calls for the premium ingredient the grapes get an impression in a very specific place. In addition, cognac functions blends of multiple species of fermented product differing in age. Merely put, cognac is expensive because it is do from high value things.

Hennessy narrows the ingredient perform down also further by making use of the Ugni Blanc grape exclusively. The Ugni Blanc is described as fruity, through some citrus notes, lending itself to being right for production into the Eaux-de-vie blends that will become cognac.

Supply and Demand

In addition to expensive base ingredients, cognac is finding another reason to have a higher average price suggest than various other spirits. The is the old dominance of supply and demand. If need outweighs supply, climate the supplier have the right to charge an ext for the product.

Cognac producers, consisting of Hennessy (who wake up to make 40% that the complete cognac supply), have actually started having actually to hold ago supplies together the demand has risen to nearly impossible proportions. For are afraid of running out, cognac equipments are limiting gives being sent out out and are allocating supplies to locations like China who consume the most.

With the said, Hennessy go ensure to create offerings that space affordable to “normal” people. With the Hennessy VS and newer Hennessy black color renditions, Hennessy renders itself easily accessible to those that cannot afford a multi-thousand dollar bottle.

The big Boys

Speaking of bottles of Hennessy that expense thousands of dollars, let’s take it a watch closer at a couple of those offerings. Do not fear, over there is no charge for just talking about them...I hope.

Hennessy Paradis


Coming in simply under the $1000 price point, Hennessy Paradis is called after a classic cognac term. The ax “Paradis” is provided to describe the one-of-a-kind hiding location cognac producers have to keep their oldest, many prized vintage cognacs. Imagine a cellar filled through old, dusty barrels teeming through aged cognac. This is Paradis.

Given that name, one might assume that this mix features countless old, prized Eaux-de-vie amongst its ingredients. The would show up that the an ext finesse and also consideration a cognac requires, the higher its price might be. With that, let’s look at the older, wiser, much more expensive (about two grand an ext expensive, that is) brother to Paradis: Paradis Imperial.

Hennessy Paradis Imperial


The Paradis royal comes through a ton of historic strings attached. This blend traces that is roots all the means back come 1818. In ~ the request of the Dowager Empress of Russia, Hennessy created this distinct blend together a gift because that her child - a details Tsar Alexander I.

How walk this relate come the present Paradis Imperial? Well, grasp blender (and apparent history buff) Yann Fillioux decided he would like to recreate this once made masterpiece. After lot research and also utilizing some precious and also old Eaux-de-vie, he was able to recreate the one time gift to the Tsar.

As we have the right to see, rare blends, tough work, and also historic background deserve to really ramp the price the a cognac up fairly a bit.

Richard Hennessy

Everyone wants to understand what the most expensive bottle of Hennessy is. Fine it’s no a secret! Richard Hennessy top the charts at a lining $4000+. As defined by Maurice Richard-Hennessy, one time CEO of the Jas Hennessy & Co., it is a mix of the Grands Siècles (a unique and special blend of 100 Eaux-de-vie) some of which may date earlier to the 1800s.

Its namesake is obviously THE Richard Hennessy, founder of what is currently the most well-known cognac and also largest producer in the world. Produced in 1996, to honor the tradition of Richard Hennessy, it attributes blends native 40 - 200 years of aging. All that aging means only one thing - that is expensive...and more than likely quite a an excellent cognac.

The Alphabet Explained

If we have actually all had actually a moment to catch our breath from several of those prices, let’s talk about the letter that spell out some mysterious code on the bottles. In reality, it is no that tricky the a code. If you look in ~ the price chart below, you deserve to see numerous Hennessy varieties followed by part letters. This letters space utilized transparent the cognac industry, so you might see them on other brands that cognac as well. Let’s look in ~ what those letters mean:

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

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

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