Hennessy: A quick History

Born in 1765 in ~ the hand of an ireland military man named Richard Hennessy, the Hennessy brand name has regulated to stay fairly relevant because that over 250 years. Purchased with time by other luxury brands choose Moet et Chandon, luigi Vuitton, and also even having actually connections with Christian Dior, Hennessy continues to be fixed in the lap the luxury.

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Background on Cognac

Many will speak to Hennessy a brandy; however, it is technically a cognac. Brandies, generally speaking, are any distilled spirit made indigenous fermented fruit. Cognac is a type of brandy do from grapes or wine.

Made in a region called Cognac, France, Hennessy is official a cognac. By rule, cognac must be dual distilled using a copper pot still. Cognac is frequently a blend of multiple Eaux-de-vie (literally meaning water of life yet referring come the distilled alcohol product with very fruity flavors). Cognac will invest time aging in Limousin or Tronçais oak casks and also the perfect product should be 40% ABV.

Cognacs are Expensive...For a Reason

The thinking behind the greater average price point can seem elusive yet can really be pinned under to one thing: specificity of ingredients. Cognac must be do in the Cognac an ar of France. That is required to it is in made native white alcohol grapes get an impression in the region.

While other spirits deserve to be made through inexpensive assets like wheat, barley, or various other cheap grains and also products, cognac needs the premium ingredient that grapes get an impression in a very details place. In addition, cognac functions blends of multiple varieties of fermented product differing in age. Merely put, cognac is expensive due to the fact that it is made from high value things.

Hennessy narrows the ingredient list down also further by using the Ugni Blanc grape exclusively. The Ugni Blanc is described as fruity, with some citrus notes, lending itself to being best for production into the Eaux-de-vie blends the will come to be cognac.

Supply and also Demand

In enhancement to expensive base ingredients, cognac is finding an additional reason to have a higher average price suggest than other spirits. That is the old rule of supply and demand. If need outweighs supply, climate the supplier have the right to charge an ext for its product.

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

With that said, Hennessy does ensure to produce offerings that are affordable come “normal” people. With the Hennessy VS and also newer Hennessy black renditions, Hennessy renders itself easily accessible to those that cannot bought a multi-thousand disagreement bottle.

The big Boys

Speaking of bottles of Hennessy that cost thousands the dollars, let’s take it a watch closer in ~ a pair of those offerings. Carry out not fear, there is no charge for just talking about them...I hope.

Hennessy Paradis


Coming in just under the $1000 price point, Hennessy Paradis is named after a timeless cognac term. The hatchet “Paradis” is offered to define the distinct hiding place cognac producers have to keep your oldest, most prized vintage cognacs. Imagine a cellar filled with old, dusty barrels teeming with aged cognac. This is Paradis.

Given that name, one might assume that this mix features many old, prized Eaux-de-vie among its ingredients. It would show up that the much more finesse and also consideration a cognac requires, the greater its price might be. V that, let’s look at the older, wiser, much more expensive (about two grand much more 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 the roots every the way back to 1818. In ~ the request of the Dowager Empress that Russia, Hennessy developed this special blend as a gift for her boy - a certain Tsar Alexander I.

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

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

Richard Hennessy

Everyone desires to recognize what the most expensive bottle of Hennessy is. Fine it’s not a secret! Richard Hennessy top the charts in ~ a whopping $4000+. As explained by Maurice Richard-Hennessy, one time CEO that the Jas Hennessy & Co., that is a mix of the Grands Siècles (a unique and also special mix of 100 Eaux-de-vie) few of which may date earlier to the 1800s.

Its namesake is clear THE Richard Hennessy, founder of what is now the most popular cognac and also largest producer in the world. Developed in 1996, to honor the tradition of Richard Hennessy, it features blends from 40 - 200 year of aging. All that aging method only one point - it is expensive...and most likely quite a great cognac.

The Alphabet Explained

If we have all had a minute to capture our breath from few of those prices, let’s talk around the letters that spell out part mysterious code on the bottles. In reality, the is not that tricky that a code. If girlfriend look in ~ the price graph below, you have the right to see numerous Hennessy varieties adhered to by part letters. These letters room utilized throughout the cognac industry, therefore you may see lock on other brands that cognac as well. Stop look in ~ what those letters mean:

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

Hennessy XO: Extra Old; Be certain not to contact anyone XO the end there! together of April 2016, this way 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; suggests that the youngest in the blend is at least 4 years old; however, these room often much older blends.