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What is Hennessy Made From? (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on August 18, 2022 by Lydia Martin

Hennessy is one of the strongest spirits globally, providing a smooth mouthfeel with a trace of spice in the base bottle. This exquisite taste and kick come from Hennessy’s main ingredient, which could be surprising. So, what is Hennessy made from?

Our team of experts will be your Hennessy specialists, providing you with the most up-to-date information about this intense spirit.

Hennessy: What It’s Made From?

Hennessy on desk with glass

Hennessy is created from Ugni Blanc grapes, which are made into wine. It then becomes an Eau-de-vie, which is prepared from Uni Blanc wine grapes that have been fermented and distilled once by the farmers. 

Hennessy picks distinct Eau de Vie for their taste characteristics and then distills them again for consistency. It rests in charred oak barrels for 4–100 years [1]. 

Its Main Ingredient

Hennessy Main Ingredient on table

The main ingredient behind Hennessy is the Ugni Blanc grapes. Ugni blanc is a grape variety used to create brandy in North America, Bulgaria, and Italy. These grapes were harvested only once a year with care and precision to produce high-quality and delicious wines.

Ugni Blanc is perfectly suited to the demands of brandy producers in Cognac and Armagnac, who require high acidity, low sugar, and disease resistance. In addition, reduced sugar levels in the base wines mean lesser alcoholic strength when distilled.

How It’s Made

How It's Made

Hennessy begins its production like any other winery would: high-quality vineyards. Ugni grapes are plucked at their peak of ripeness and squeezed. Then, its juice is fermented into wine every year.

Afterwhich, the wine goes through a two-step distillation procedure to become Eaux-de-vie. The first distillation produces a raw spirit known as Brouillet, while the second produces a high alcohol level. 

After that, each Eaux-de-vie is matured in oak barrels, where the colors and tastes are exchanged. This stage takes years and multiple barrel rotations to attain the appropriate taste complexity. But, what does Hennessy really taste like?

How It Became Cognac

How It Became Cognac

To be recognized as Cognac, Hennessy adheres to the rules set out by a protected appellation of origin. This specifies that the grapes should be planted and that all cognac manufacturing must occur in southern France’s Cognac area. 

It starts with Ugni White grapes farmed organically and methodically picked at their best for Hennessy. After pressing the grapes, the juice is fermented into wine. After maturing in wood barrels (most often French Limousin oak) and mixing, the clear liquid becomes Cognac.

As the Cognac matures in barrels, the barrels are rotated and placed in certain cellars based on the intended qualities. A wet cellar, for example, will generate mellower tastes, while a drier cellar will yield more flavor.

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FAQs

Where does Hennessy get its grapes?

Henessy gets its grapes at Cognac, France. Hennessy grows up to 750,000 hectares of Ugni grapevines. 

What grapes does Hennessy use?

Hennessy uses Ugni Blanc grapes. It is a late-maturing variety of grapes that achieves the optimal blend of high acidity and low alcohol concentration for well-balanced Eaux-de-vie.

Why is Hennessy so expensive?

Hennessy is so expensive due to its production method. The ingredients used, the careful distillation, and maturing process also make it expensive. Grapes, not wheat, are the primary component in spirits, and distilling wine from juice is pricey.

So, What Is Hennessy Made From?

Hennessy is an alcoholic drink made from Ugni Blanc grapes harvested in France’s region. This drink has been distilled and matured for years in oak barrels, imparting flavors.

A spirit must fulfill extremely precise legal conditions called “Cognac.” These conditions include being made in Cognac, France’s wine-growing region, using certain grapes, distilling twice, and aged for years in French oak barrels [2].

References:

  1. https://www.thespruceeats.com/hennessy-vs-cognac-review-759470
  2. https://www.eater.com/drinks/2015/11/17/9747068/what-is-cognac

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