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The Founder’s Cellar

The Founder’s Cellar

The Founder’s Cellar is the symbol of a heritage: behind its imposing gates, rest the Maison’s very oldest eaux-de-vie. This confidential space is rarely unveiled and contains the exceptional essence of the best Hennessy Cognacs. We take an exclusive visit to the place that pays tribute to Richard Hennessy.

At the source of history

Few men and women have had the privilege to have ever walked in the footsteps of Her Majesty, the Queen of England, one of the rare leading figures to have had the opportunity to visit the place. It was named in honor of Richard Hennessy, and as such, The Founder’s Cellar is a milestone in history for several reasons, as well as being a truly exceptional place. Acquired in 1850 by the successors of the Maison's founder, this cellar was the solution to the intuitive act of laying down the oldest and most subtle eaux-de-vie, leaving them to rest inside precious casks built from two hundred year-old oak trees. Somewhere between a storage area and a safe, the place is a timeless testimony to unique know-how; giving the cognac time to achieve its full complexity and scope. This scope was summed up by Renaud de Gironde, a member of the Hennessy Tasting Committee: “The Founder’s Cellar is anything but a museum. It is above all the place for resting and ageing the eaux-de-vie which are used for blending and we taste them regularly. Here, the eaux-de-vie find, own and reveal their potential.

At the gates of the exceptional

The Founder’s Cellar is the cradle of the most precious eaux-de-vie; its unique spectacle of casks lined up from floor to ceiling is thrilling. In the dim light, the rows of casks lie in wait, stamped with chalk to show the year they were placed in the cellar. They are left there for the subtle liquids to improve before they are bottled. Everything here defies the logic of time. The atmosphere is steeped in the fragrance of the “angels’ share”. Among the eaux-de-vie which are aged for sixty years, it is not unusual to unearth century-old liquids, just like the vast glass demijohns encircled with wicker called Dames Jeannes, the oldest of which dates back to 1798, when Richard Hennessy was still working. They cannot bear any important variation in temperature and must avoid all evaporation risks. The finesse, complexity and elegance of future Cognacs are detected from the beginning, before being aged in barrels for several decades. Lying expectantly, waiting to be discovered and concealed behind a gate at the back of the cellar are 16 casks holding 550 liters of Richard Hennessy cognac, the Maison’s reference and coat of arms.

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