Though it doesn’t happen often – every now and then we like to indulge in a dram of the finest cognac – after all, variety is the spice of life – and one of our favourites is Hennessy. As you’ll likely know, Hennessy have been around for centuries (1765). However, it wasn’t until 1870 that Maurice Hennessy created Hennessy X.O for his circle of friends and introduced a new style of cognac. Hennessy X.O is the Original, the emblematic icon of the Hennessy Maison and was one of the first Cognacs to be classified as X.O “extra old”. Deep and powerful, the eaux-de-vie of this Hennessy X.O cognac are aged in young barrels and marked out by their power and energy, but also by their capacity to achieve a great roundness during maturation.
On the nose: you’ll experience sweet notes of sherry, followed by liquorice, vanilla, cinnamon and demerara sugar. After a couple of swirls in the glass more notes are released in the form of, chocolate, tobacco, lavender, jasmine, plums, lychee, red apples, pineapple and marzipan. Rounding of the nose are notes of orange peel, maraschino cherries and a hint of oak. On the palate: complex notes of apricots, peaches, plum and vanilla make the taste buds tingle. Followed by notes of apples, cinnamon, light spices, liquorice and almonds. The finish: is long, sweet, spicy and floral, with a lingering perfume note like parma violets.
The verdict: Hennessy is synonymous with excellence and while this doesn’t always ring true for other cognacs – this bottling of “Extra Old” X.O Cognac is absolutely sublime. Whether you are a lover of fine Cognac or not, Hennessy X.O simply has to be enjoyed to be understood. With its plethora of undulating notes available on both the nose and palate, it has to be experienced on its own to be fully appreciated. With an ABV of 40% this is more than achievable, without the need to add anything else but if I may add one suggestion it is this. After pouring, leave it to breathe for a few moments before tasting.
This extra old bottling of Hennessy X.O can be found at any well-stocked fine wines and spirits shops for approx. £150. For more information on this X.O expression, visit the official Hennessy website.