Busting six myths about Hennessy cognac
Oh, the lore of cognac is built on some factual facts and mythical myths. We took a look at six of them.
Our Hennessy cognac comes from the small town of Cognac, where eaux-de-vies slumber in oak barrels in monastic silence. It is a treasure surrounded by myths, myths that today can be turned into facts.
Myth: "Cognac and cognac have the same meaning."
Fact: Cognac (with the capital C) is the city of Cognac in France. In contrast, cognac (with c in lower case) is the spirit produced under strict specifications, in other words: the cognac drink can only be produced in the Cognac region.
Did you know?
At the heart of the Cognac region is the picturesque town of Cognac which is also the home of Hennessy!
Myth: "A bottle of Hennessy cognac evolves and ages when in the bottle."
Fact: It doesn't age in the sense that it doesn't mature, doesn't concentrate, nor does it get any better. A cognac ages and matures in oak barrels only.
Did you know?
It's very exceptional and depends solemnly on the cork's tightness, but if a cognac (or any other spirit) would to evolve slightly, it wouldn't be towards an improvement of its quality and taste!
Myth: "Hennessy V.S.O.P and a Hennessy V.S are the same, only aged older."
Fact: Hennessy V.S.O.P is not V.S aged older! There are distinct characters with distinctive histories, and they differ in selection, maturation, and assemblage. The selection, the ageing and the blending are specific to each of them.
Did you know?
Each blend has a specific selection of "eaux-de-vie", each with an origin, a dedication, a potential, and a particular maturation path.
Myth: "The blends for Hennessy V.S, V.S.O.P and X.O have changed drastically since the origin of the products in the 18th century."
Fact: False! We are confident that very little difference could be found despite all the contextual changes occurring since then, such as the phylloxera crisis, different cultivation methods, advanced technology, weather conditions etc. Hennessy Master Blenders and their teams have always worked very carefully to keep the qualities up to the highest level of consistency.
Did you know?
Each final blend is always compared to the previous ones by Hennessy's Tasting Committee: they aim to duplicate the same character and style year after year.
Myth: "The Hennessy X.O is more expensive than Hennessy V.S.O.P because it is better."
Fact: No. Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, our Master Blender, doesn't consider a cognac more qualitative than others if this is what "better" means. The elaboration process is equally careful from A to Z for all "eaux-de-vie" regardless of their destinations; for instance, there is no specific way to distil or no difference in the quality of barrels. Young "eaux-de-vie" and matured ones are brought up equally with quality in mind. Something that is never compromised on.
Did you know?
The price difference between those two is a matter of rarity: All the expressions have the same quality, but some are composed of rarer "eaux-de-vie" in terms of aromatic profiles due to their origin, their maturing mode and duration, and their assemblage pattern.
Myth: "The best way to get the aroma of cognac out of the glass is to warm it over a flame."
Fact: Cognac being a delicate and sensual elixir, at first is a feast to the eyes, then to the nose and then the palate. And it is no surprise that aroma is a huge part of that experience. But forcing the aroma out by heating it with a flame is far more than you need, and frankly, it'll get you nowhere and serve you no good. In fact, such a tactic could be painful for you and the cognac.
Did you know?
The best way to get the aromas out of the cognac is to simply cup the bowl of the snifter in your hand. The warmth of your hand will warm the liquid enough to permit it to escape, and you'll be able to enjoy it fully.
Hennessy Very Special (V.S) is one of the most popular cognacs in the world. Matured in new oak barrels, Hennessy V.S is bold and fragrant. Its beguiling character is uniquely Hennessy, a timeless choice with an intensity all its own. Hennessy V.S offers toasted and fruit notes, with a rich, clearly defined palate and a welcoming exuberance.
Hennessy V.S expresses its vibrant and dynamic personality through unique artist partnerships and annual limited editions. Easy to enjoy, it’s a perfect cognac for high-energy occasions and sharing the moment.
The round and robust flavours of Hennessy V.S make it very versatile and ideal for any cocktail possibility, from classic recipes and sophisticated cocktail creations to easy mixed drinks.
Since 1765, Maison Hennessy has perfected the art of cognac-making, a tradition perpetuated by eight generations of Master Blenders. A legacy of cultural openness lets Maison Hennessy shine around the world, wherever its celebrated cognacs are shared.
In 1817, James Hennessy created a unique blend for the future King George IV of England. From the encounter of these two visionaries, was born the first Hennessy “Very Superior Old Pale,” know today as Hennessy V.S.O.P.
The savoir-faire of the Maison Hennessy is fully expressed in this balanced cognac: the selection of eaux-de-vie, aging and assemblage. A cognac of remarkable consistency and vitality, Hennessy V.S.O.P conveys all of the savoir-faire of the Hennessy master blenders who have ensured the continued success of this harmonious assemblage for 200 years.
In 1870, Maurice Hennessy created Hennessy X.O for his circle of friends and introduced a new style of cognac. Hennessy X.O is the Original, the emblematic icon of the Hennessy Maison.
Deep and powerful, the eaux-de-vie of this Hennessy X.O cognac are aged in young barrels and marked out by their power and energy, but also by their capacity to achieve a great roundness through time.
Our Tasting Committee has explored every facet of the blend and identified several emotions that were assimilated to an Odyssey through 7 chapters:
- Sweet Notes: The palate is warmly embraced by flavors of candied fruit.
- Rising Heat: The intriguing sensation of an intense, rising heat slowly reveals the complex taste of eaux-de-vie patiently aged in oak barrels.
- Spicy Edge: Perception of a strong spicy cognac note, tantalising the lips and palate with its distinct peppery flavor intertwined with a hint of chocolate.
- Flowing Flame: A wave of warmth grows, crests and then breaks. A robust presence, full and voluptuous, is felt.
- Chocolate Lull: There is the gradual discovery of something very familiar. It is the well-rounded flavor of a rich, dark chocolate.
- Wood Crunches: A striking sensation is suddenly felt – the vigorous ebb and flow of oak notes interlaced with vanilla.
- Infinite Echo: The evanescent oak notes leave a long, omnipresent finish in their wake. Seemingly endless, it echoes all of the subtleties of each taste and sensation that has preceded it.
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