A person once said at a bar, “Cognac is my worst enemy, but the bible says to love your enemy….”
You do not have to be religious to enjoy cognac since you can always find a reason for a sip of Hennessy or two.
Find out all about your favorite drink along with the prices so you can start adding it to your bar right away.
Quick History of Hennessy
Hennessy was founded by the Irish aristocrat Richard Hennessy in 1765 when he first distilled a barrel of cognac. What he started that time was not wasted as he created one if not the most popular cognac there is today.
However, Richard Hennessey was not the one who established the Hennessey name but his son James. In the 1800s, the United States already had the luxury of tasting the prestigious spirit from the Charente region of France. They already exported it there at that time.
Many believe that cognac is a type of whiskey, but this blend is made of grapes and not wheat or barley. How the two are distilled in barrels makes them alike but up to that part only. A fruity, sweet, and spicy taste of the Eaux de vie from the best grapes in the Cognac region.
How It’s Made
Hennessy is made from the best grapes from the Charente region of France, where this cognac is processed twice. The Eaux de vie comes out white with an alcohol base of 70%.
They will then store it in French limousin oak barrels where it ages five years to achieve the complexity in flavor. The world already knows that when they see the brands, it will deliver the taste of luxury to them.
Brandy & Cognac
A Little Background on Cognac
Hennessy is cognac, but most people call it brandy which is technically correct since cognac is a type of brandy made from fermented grapes. Cognac is special because the grapes used are grown specifically in a region in France.
Hennessy cognac is then kept in a limousin or Tronçais oak casks until it ages with 40% ABV. Just a brief history, the first shipment of Hennessy cognac was in 1794 to the United States of America,
Why Are Cognacs Expensive?
These spirits are costly because of the ingredients the manufacturers use. They use high-quality grapes, and the distillation (1) takes a long time, making it more expensive than other wines that can be placed in bottles and distilled in a short span of time. On the other hand, Cognac spirits have higher value because they enjoy aging slowly before the flavor is achieved.
Why Age is Just a Number
In distillation, the longer the collection of Eaux de vie age inside the barrel, the better the blend of alcohol and flavor. Cognac is not like any other alcoholic beverage. As the years add up, the flavors inside the barrel also intensify the taste but make it smoother and gentler. Cognac is created to keep bitters and sweet that the flavor bursts once poured in an old-fashioned way.
The Law of Supply & Demand
It is given that whenever the demand for a product is high, the price goes up as well. This is exactly why Hennessy’s prices do not go down because the demand always outweighs the supply of cognac even though they are supplying 40% of the total supply worldwide. The shipment to China is usually prioritized because they consume more than anywhere else.
How to Drink Hennessy
If you have the luxury to have a bottle of Hennessy, find a tulip glass and pour yourself a good portion and take it neat. This way, you can appreciate the color and smell the aroma.
If you want ice with your cognac, you can pour it on a tumbler glass or simply add some cold water to your Hennessy. This way, the aroma can easily spread out caused by water.
You have to pay the highest price for this bottle of Hennessy cognac. Richard Hennessy is the most expensive among all the bottles from this brand.
If you are lucky, you might get something from the 1800s, which has the unique special blend of 100 Eaux-de-vie. This was first distributed in 1996 in honor of the man behind one of the best cognacs in the market today, Richard Hennessy.
“Paradis” is the terminology used by cognac producers in describing the special hiding place where the oldest and most priced cognac is. The rarest and vintage Eaux-de-vie is kept and aged for up to 130 years, ensuring depth and elegance.
This was made available starting in 1979. Pour it in an old-fashioned wine glass, and you can enjoy a warm caress going down your throat. Mix it with soda water, and your cognac will still taste great.
Hennessy Paradis Imperial
It all started with Tsar Alexander I, a son of a Russian Dowager Empress who received this special blend as a gift from his mother. The Paradis Imperial is a recreation of that said masterpiece of Richard Hennessy by master blender Yann Fillioux. This cognac may represent the creator of the first cognac, but the staple taste of Hennessy cognac was not lost in this version, thus the price.
Hennessy Varieties Explained
“Very Superior Old Pale” are the words behind the abbreviation VSOP on the labels of the liquor bottle Hennessy. Cognacs with VSOP label means this aged at least four years. Serve it straight or garnish it inside an old-fashioned wine glass. This cognac has a very smooth taste. The price of this cognac is on average, but the flavor is superb.
XO stands for Extra Old. These are sold in stores at a more reasonable price but still, one of the blended products aged not less than ten years in the cellar. Since it stayed longer inside the cellar and storage costs were slightly high, this cognac’s price is also higher than VS and VSOP.
This is the most affordable cognac among the collection of wine under the brand name Hennessey, and each alcohol bottle is aged for at least two years before it is shipped to individual sellers.
Common Hennessy Prices
|Type||Size||Proof||Average Pricing (range)|
|Hennessy VS||750 ml||80||$33.99 – $38.99|
|Hennessy XO||750 ml||80||$199.99 – $229.99|
|Hennessy VSOP||750 ml||80||$83.99 – $85.99|
|Hennessy Paradis||750 ml||80||$799.99 – $999.99|
|Hennessy Paradis Imperial||750 ml||80||$2,399.99 – $2,799.99|
|Hennessy Black||750ml||80||$39.99 – $46.99|
|Hennessy Pure White||750ml||80||$94.99 – $139.99|
|Hennessy VSOP Privilege||750ml||80||$51.99 – $58.99|
|Hennessy Richard||750ml||80||$3,799.99 – $5,499.99|
|Hennessy VS Limited Edition||750ml||80||$39.99 – $49.99|
|Master Blender’s Selection No. 2||750ml||86||$94.99 – $99.99|
Compared To Other Cognac Brands
Prunier started in 1701, but bottling and shipping began in 1769 though they do not own vineyards. This brand is the “classic of its genre,” it is admired for its fruitiness and flavorful aroma. A sip would give your tongue that taste of toffee and vanilla and, in the end, a burst of dry fruit that lingers.
This is a known name when it comes to cognac from all over the world. They scored 6/10 and are very popular because of their cognac’s floral, fruit, oaky, and candied flavor, particularly the VSOP.
Remy Martin offers complex yet sophisticated taste on their cognac. A sip of the popular cognac will let you taste white flowers, apricot, toasted oak, baked apple, and vanilla—a mixture of dried fruit, licorice, ginger, and baking spices.
This brand promises elegance in its product taste. It promises a smooth vanilla finish with a caramel and oak aftertaste. They promise a blend that is fit for beginners, for those who just want to sip and relax, or for somebody who wants to splurge. There is a selection waiting for each person’s preference.
|Brand||Style||Date of Origin||Average Pricing (range)|
|Prunier||VSOP||1701||$65.99 – $73.99|
|Gautier||VSOP||1755||$35.99 – $40.00|
|Remy Martin||1738 Accord Royal||1727||$46.99 – $50.99|
|Camus||VSOP||1863||$51.99 – $55.99|
Popular Hennessy-based Cocktails
- 40ml of Hennessy VS Cognac
- 10ml of Triple Sec
- 10ml of Lemon Juice
- One slice of Orange Peel
- Ice cubes
- Place ice on the cocktail shaker first
- Add in cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice to the shaker
- Give the shaker a mighty shake and pour it into glass
- Garnish with orange peel
- 2 Ounce(s) of Hennessy V.S Cognac
- Half Teaspoon of Lemon Juice
- You can use either a mixing glass or shaker
- Fill it with ice, then add Hennessy and lemon juice
- Give it a gentle stir, then let it settle
- Get a chilled old fashioned glass for martini
- Strain mixture as you pour it into the glass
- Garnish with lemon peel and serve cocktails
Hennessy Guava Cocktail
- 1.5 oz of Hennessy VS
- 2 oz Guava Juice
- 2-3 slices of strawberry
- 1 Lime wedge
- Mix strawberry slices and lime wedge together first
- Put everything in a shaker, including Hennessy VS and ice
- Strain and pour the mixture in a rock glass
- Add in guava juice
- Garnish with strawberry slices
1. Is Hennessy a whiskey or a brandy?
Hennessy is a cognac which is a strong type of brandy, just like whiskey. Other spirits have distinct tastes, but this liquor from France has a nice blend of flavors, fruity, bitters, and aftertaste of the oak where these are kept for a good period.
2. How much is the most expensive Hennessy?
The most expensive Hennessey is no other than the one named after the person who built this cognac empire, Richard Hennessy. It costs not lower than $4,000. One may ask why? These were distilled for hundreds of decades, and if you are lucky, you might get something distilled from the 1800s.
3. Why is Hennessy so popular?
Hennessy is popular because of celebrities and rappers who mention Hennessy in their songs by the likes of 2pac, Dre. Kanye West and Rapper Nas. Aspiring rappers also buy these brands because they see them drinking the world-renowned brandy, Hennessy cognac as they wait for their chance to shine.
4. What’s the best way to drink Hennessy?
Hennessy can be taken neat or with ice, whichever is your preference. The cognac can be turned into delicious cocktails or mixed with soda water to let the flavors come out and drop some ice cubes. Or, if you want added sweetness, pour your wine and mix it with cola and dump ice cubes in it.
Our Final Thoughts
Richard Hennessy created a wine that is far better than other spirits produced. That is why nobody questions how high Hennessy prices are because the taste of this cognac says it all. This wine is known all over the world as the finest brandy that went through a lengthy distillation from the country of luxury wine, France.
Prices may be high, but Hennessy cognac has the most flavorful fruity and bitters you will never get from a bottle of beer, not even from Chandon, champagne from Hennessy as well. Luxury is fine if you are getting the most of what you are paying for.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds!