When Richard Hennessy, an Irish officer serving in the army of Louis XV, founded his now world-famous 'maison' back in 1765, he did so with one aim in mind - to create the world's finest cognac. Few would dare to argue that this dream has not been realised.
The Hennessy Cognac Story
It took some thirty years for the Hennessy Maison to make a real name for itself. Then in 1794 came a breakthrough; the first deliveries were made to the United States, which had gained independence just 18 years before.
The Prince of Wales, later King George IV of Great Britain, was a great connoisseur of cognac. He asked Hennessy to create a "very superior old pale cognac."
Since then the initials V.S.O.P - Very Superior Old Pale - have been used as a benchmark for the entire industry.
In 1818 Empress Maria Federovna of Russia asked Maison Hennessy to produce the most exceptional cognac as a birthday present for her son Czar Alexander I. Thus began a long relationship with the Russian royal dynasty.
In 1865 Maurice Hennessy, great-grandson of founder Richard Hennessy, decided to establish a cognac classification. He used varying numbers of stars to represent different degrees of quality. This gave rise to Hennessy's Three Star Cognac, today known as V.S (Very Special). Before long this classification was adopted by the entire industry.
In 1870 Maurice Hennessy created the X.O (Extra Old) classification of Cognac. This was originally meant to be for family and friends only but is now regarded as a worldwide benchmark for cognacs.
The reputation of this wonderful cognac continued to grow and in 1947 Gerald de Geoffre de Chabrignac, Richard Hennessy's nephew, created the now distinctive X.O. flacon design.
Other landmarks include the development of a completely unique cognac that blends more than a hundred exceptional eaux-de-vie. This was known as Hennessy Paradis.
In 1996 Master Blender Yann Fillioux created Richard Hennessy, a cognac which comes as close to perfection as is possible. Made especially for true connoisseurs, this masterpiece cognac embodies 250 years of savoir-faire and history and is bottled in numbered, hand-blown crystal carafes.
How Hennessy Cognac is Made
At Hennessy, cognac is not 'manufactured'. Â Like a longed-for child, it is 'raised' with care, kindness and firmness.
The rearing of Hennessy Cognac begins with the vine; Ugni Blanc, the light fruity grape specifically suited to Hennessy Maison's double distillation. To guarantee the aromas will be both excellent and varied, the craftsmen of Hennessey choose only eaux-de-vie from the four great crus of the region (Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois).
The ageing comes next. This is a true test of patience, imagination and vision. This is a phase which can last beyond a lifetime. Hennessy only uses casks which have been hewn from oak trees over 100 years old, exclusively from French forests. These ancient casks stand in a dim light - over 300,000 casks in all. They rest in the Hennessy cellars, one of the largest reserve of cognac eaux-de-vie in the world.
The Founder's Cellar is a symbol of the Hennessy heritage. Every single one of these eaux-de-vie has been aged for at least fifty years, with many being over a hundred years old. Once at the peak of its potential, the cognac is put into large wicker-encased glass demijohns, before being used to create the rarest cognacs. The very oldest eau-de-vie dates from 1800.
Hennessy Cognac at Wheelers
We stock a wonderful range of Hennessy Cognacs - from the 'entry level' Fine De Cognac, all the way through to the rare and inimitable Paradis Imperial Cognac.
Licensing Act 2003 - It is an offence to purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic liquor if you are under the age of 18.
Celebrate your Corporate Success with Hennessy Cognac
There is no better way to celebrate your business' success or that of an employee than with Hennessy Cognac. It could be a promotion, a target exceeded or maybe your company has won a new contract or achieved a milestone. Having your chosen bottle of Hennessy Cognac engraved with your company logo or personal message is the perfect way to say 'Well done!'.
Making it Personal
For a truly personal gift for a special friend, why not have your special message engraved directly on to the cognac bottle or onto a plaque for its presentation box?