Benoit Gindraud knows that a barrel has to be perfect to make the perfect cognac.
Benoit Gindraud keeps a close eye on all the barrels housing Hennessy's eaux-de-vie. The barrels come from coopers contracted to the Maison, a lot of whom have worked with Hennessy for many years. According to Appellation d'Origine Controllée standards, they are only allowed to use oak from the Limousin region which have been dried for 3 years in the open air. Benoit ensures that the quality of new barrels is up to the Maison's high standards and also maintain the 260,000 barrels in-house, since many of them are used for about 25 years. Benoit also helps decide what kind of barrel each eau-de-vie should be aged in, since a barrel will determine its specific character and, in turn, what a Hennessy cognac will become. In this interview, Benoit discusses the special alchemy of eaux-de-vie, the barrels they mature in, and the people who make them.