Hennessy: A quick History

Born in 1765 in ~ the hands of an ireland military man named Richard Hennessy, the Hennessy brand surname has controlled to stay rather relevant for over 250 years. Purchased gradually by other luxury brands prefer Moet et Chandon, louis Vuitton, and even having connections v Christian Dior, Hennessy continues to be fixed in the lap that luxury.

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Background top top Cognac

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

Made in a region called Cognac, France, Hennessy is official a cognac. By rule, cognac need to be dual distilled using a copper pot still. Cognac is often a blend of multiple Eaux-de-vie (literally definition water of life yet referring to the distilled wine product with an extremely fruity flavors). Cognac will invest time aging in Limousin or Tronçais oak casks and also the finished product need to be 40% ABV.

Cognacs are Expensive...For a Reason

The thinking behind the greater average price allude can it seems to be ~ elusive however can really be pinned down to one thing: specificity that ingredients. Cognac must be made in the Cognac region of France. That is forced to be made native white wine grapes get an impression in the region.

While other spirits deserve to be made with inexpensive commodities like wheat, barley, or various other cheap grains and also products, cognac needs the premium ingredient that grapes get an impression in a very certain place. In addition, cognac features blends of multiple types of fermented product varying in age. Just put, cognac is expensive since it is do 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, v 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 basic ingredients, cognac is finding one more reason to have actually a greater average price allude than other spirits. That is the old dominion of supply and demand. If need outweighs supply, climate the supplier have the right to charge much more for the product.

Cognac producers, consisting of Hennessy (who happens to make 40% that the full cognac supply), have started having to hold earlier supplies as the need has risen to practically impossible proportions. For are afraid of running out, cognac makers are limiting offers being sent out out and are allocating offers to places like China that consume that most.

With that said, Hennessy go ensure to produce offerings that room affordable to “normal” people. With the Hennessy VS and also newer Hennessy black renditions, Hennessy renders itself available to those that cannot bought a multi-thousand dollar bottle.

The large Boys

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

Hennessy Paradis


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

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

Hennessy Paradis Imperial


The Paradis imperial comes through a ton of historical strings attached. This mix traces that roots all the method back to 1818. At the inquiry of the Dowager Empress that Russia, Hennessy developed this distinct blend as a gift because that her child - a certain Tsar Alexander I.

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

As we can 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 recognize what the most expensive party of Hennessy is. Well it’s no a secret! Richard Hennessy tops the charts at a whopping $4000+. As described by Maurice Richard-Hennessy, one time CEO that the Jas Hennessy & Co., that is a mix of the Grands Siècles (a unique and special mix of 100 Eaux-de-vie) few of which might date back to the 1800s.

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

The Alphabet Explained

If we have all had a moment to record our breath from some of those prices, let’s talk around the letters that spell out part mysterious password on the bottles. In reality, that is not that tricky that a code. If friend look in ~ the price chart below, you deserve to see several Hennessy varieties followed by some letters. These letters space utilized transparent the cognac industry, so you may see lock on other brands that cognac together well. Let’s look at what those letters mean:

Hennessy VS: Very Special; this indicates 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 mix is at least ten years old.

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