Monday, March 10, 2014

Hennessy Cognac - XO, Paradis, Richard Hennesy

Hennessy Cognac tasting today with representatives from Moet-Hennessy and my local distributor.  We tasted four items just prior to lunch and I was tempted by the rep to follow the tasting into lunch with a bit of Hennessy XO on ice with my Asian noodles - not sure that was happening, despite the fact that these are tremendous tasting items.  Food and Cognac are a challenge, especially straight spirit style.  I have a durable palate, but this is not a typical place for me to try Cognac.  Fortunately I was able to taste through all the selections before we ate, and had a great opportunity to get the full experience. Here are my tasting notes...

Hennessy XO
  • blended (like all of these items) from well over 100 lots of Cognacs with and age range of 10 to 30 years.
  • delicious nose of apples and cinnamon
  • subtle on the palate but with rich flavors good style of caramel flavors through the finish spicy notes, quite delicious 
  • two checks 
  • approximately $175.99 retail (750mL)

Hennessy Paradis
  • blended from eau-de-vies ranging in age from 25-130 years old 
  • Paradis is a protected name, and it was described to me as being protected as an appellation is protected, but I think what it really is is a trademark name - it refers to the old cellar or warehouse for storing the eau-de-vies 
  • deep caramel, wood tones - rich and full on the nose 
  • full, but delicate on the palate with length and supple flavors 
  • some spice and chewy notes on the finish almost citrus-like in the flavors 
  • two checks ++ (this one was my favorite of the tasting) 
  • approximately $689.99 retail (750mL)

Hennessy Paradis Imperial
  • blended from eau-de-vies ranging from 35 to 130 years old 
  • color is a touch lighter than the regular Paradis as this Cognac spends time in older oak that is not as aggressive 
  • aroma is amazing, rises from the glass with beautiful pervasiveness - dried fruits and spices like cinnamon and cardamom 
  • super smooth and elegant on the palate - soft 
  • delicate fruit and spice on the finish - fabulous style 
  • three checks 
  • approximately $3499.99 retail (750mL)

Hennessy Richard Hennessy

  • a blend of aged eau-de-vies from 40-200 years 
  • round smooth classic cognac nose with deep tones of caramel, figs and crushed baked apples, plus loads of toasty wood notes 
  • rich and very smooth on the palate - just glides across - less spice, more richness than the Paradis 
  • finish is very pretty and goes for a long time 
  • earthy wood-like tones mixed in with fruit notes - almost a bit awkward in comparison to the previous lot 
  • two checks + 
  • approximately $3499.99 retail (750mL)

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