Before trying it for ourselves, our knowledge of Hennessy was limited to song lyrics and the idea of Hennessy as a luxury item that not many people get their hands on unless they are famous. But here we are, raising our glasses to education on the mysterious drink that is Hennessy.
Technically speaking, Hennessy is cognac. Don’t worry if you have no idea what that is—we’re going to break it down even further. Cognac is a brandy that is made with white wine. Highlight list: not all brandy is cognac. In fact, most brandy is actually not cognac.
To be called Hennessey, there are many qualifications the product must adhere to. One might even compare it to champagne, as both have strict regulations regarding where the spirit comes from geographically.
Hennessy is made from grapes that are grown in the Charante region of France. This region is an essential vine growing heaven thanks to its sunny temperature and climate. Hennessy predominantly uses Ugni Blanc grapes. These grapes are the most dominant in the Cognac region. Not catching on? Think white wine.
For a wine to be considered cognac, the distillation process must take place twice. Yes, that’s correct. The distillation process of Hennessy must take place TWICE. Once this is done, the spirit that remains is approximately 70% alcohol. From here, it is stored in barrels. While in these barrels, the cognac interacts and becomes reduces to 40% alcohol.
From here, the cognac is transferred and stored once again. Then is it married or blended. This is what is necessary for Hennessy to gain its unique taste. You’ll want to know all of this the next time you try something new (and by trying something new, we mean trying Hennessy).
The history of Hennessy
Now it’s time for your history lesson. There is a long line of mergers when it comes to Hennessy. So, hold on tight, and make sure you have enough ink in your pen.
- 1765: Hennessy was founded by Irishman Richard Hennessy.
- 1794: Hennessy was first imported to America.
- 1813: Richard Hennessy’s son James Hennessy gave the company its name, Jas Hennessy.
- 1971: Kilian Hennessy (fifth generation) merged with Moët et Chandon to form Moët Hennessy.
- 1987: Merge between Moët Hennessy and Louis Vuitton. This is where luxury most likely became associated with Hennessy.
- 1988: Taken over by Bernard Arnault. Here the luxury association continues as Arnault was the owner of the haute couture house Christian Dior.
- 2010: Kilian Hennessy remains on Hennessey’s advisory board until his death.
- 2021: Today, the cognac distillery is owned by Chris Hennessy, and roughly 50 million bottles are sold worldwide annually.
Hennessy was not just made overnight. Like many traditions, it is passed on from generation to generation. Some would even argue that this has ensured that Hennessy has kept its luxurious quality and can always live up to people’s expectations.
What does Hennessy taste like?
If we could pick one word to describe Hennessy, it would be bold. It’s bold in the best way—not too overpowering, but it is everything you could ever dream of. As a brand, Hennessey is actually one of the most well-known cognac brands in the world.
Most of the time, cognac itself is very dry and fairly thin, thanks to the aging process. It’s aged in French wood barrels – this is where all of that flavor in Hennessy comes from. The wood that these casks are comprised of has a low resin content, making them perfect for the aging of cognacs.
For these reasons, Hennessey is often associated with nutty and woody fragrances when it is opened. It also offers floral notes and a warm palate. This luxurious beverage also has notes of oak, almonds, and fresh grapes—yeah, it’s complex. These full-bodied flavors make Hennessey perfect for enjoying both on its own and with a mixer.
Maybe you’re a more hands-on learner. If that’s the case, don’t worry – we’re can adapt our lesson to meet your learning needs. Here are some of the best Hennessys that we recommend you try—only to get the best education, of course.
VS Cognac—this one is reserved for Very Special occasions, such as graduation. This has an intense fruity character with full-bodied flavors that are sure to make you feel full of nothing but happiness on your Very Special occasion.
Maybe your graduation has come and gone, and you’ve been thinking about Hennessy ever since. If that’s the case, try and get your hands on this Black Cognac. This is distinctively smooth and decidedly different. It’s time you stand out in a crowd, just like this Hennessy.
You’re now in that romantic stage of your life. Whether you are in love with the life you live or that special someone, our best advice is to keep things sweet yet spicy. This VSOP Cognac has a strong and smooth taste with hints of vanilla, clove, and cinnamon – all of which guarantee that sugar and spice combination.
Need another way to celebrate something extremely important? The Hennessy 250th Anniversary Collector’s Cognac was practically made for that. This Collector’s Blend celebrates two and a half centuries of nothing but excellence.
The price of Hennessy
Typically, the price of Hennessy depends on the age of the cognac. This is determined by the youngest component that is used as a part of the blend. Cognac is often also more expensive than other spirits as the distilling process is quite lengthy and pricey.
A 750mL bottle will likely cost you around $40, but the specialty version can cost upwards of $1000.
Common mistakes and assumptions about Hennessey
Many people mistake Hennessy for whiskey, although there is a key difference between the two. While cognac is made of grapes, whiskey is made with grains. Another major difference is that cognac must be made in the specific region that we mentioned before. Whiskey, on the contrary, can be made practically anywhere in the world, and different regions are even famous for their unique takes on the beverage.
Ways to elevate Hennessy
Countless cocktails will elevate your already phenomenal Hennessy. You’re almost ready to graduate from Hennessy 101, so what better way to celebrate than with these 3 Hennessy Cocktails that will change your life.
Another way to elevate your Hennessy is the temperature at which you drink the cognac. There is no right or wrong here. It really all comes down to your own personal preference. In this case, practice makes perfect. However, one temperature that many people tend to love is “hand temperature,” which allows your hand to perfectly heat the glass that helps the delicate notes of the spirit.
If you’re still sitting here, not entirely sure what you need to know about Hennessy and Cognac, don’t worry. We can offer you A Crash Course In Cognac.
All you really need to know before trying Hennessy for yourself is that it is cognac or brandy made of white wine. Hennessy isn’t exactly white wine. You could definitely use the distant connection as an excuse to drink Hennessy at your next wine night if you feel so inclined.
Feeling too tired after your long day of studying the ins and outs of this liquor to go buy what you need? Saucey has got your back. We carry multiple Hennessy products, along with pretty much any other beverage that you can think of. You can get your hands on anything from the liquor store via our website or app.
If you’re trying to stay organized, you can also schedule a delivery. The good news is that there is no minimum order on Saucey—you can order just one small bottle of Hennessy to try, or you can stock up for the rest of the year.
We’re most likely in your city already, but if we aren’t, we’re working on getting there so that we can continue to teach you a thing or two about not just Hennessy but also liqueurs, beers, wines, and more.
Class is officially dismissed. Now go put everything you’ve learned into practice and go try Hennessy yourself. We’re all hands-on learners deep down, don’t deny it.