How To Spot Fake Hennessy? (4 Easy Ways)

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Hennessy is one of the best and most renowned cognacs in the world. It is part of the bid four, with the other three being Remi Martin, Martell, and Courvoisier. Hennessy is known as the undisputed market leader, with the most significant sales globally. 

Hennessy is, to this day, a family business owned and managed by the successors of Richard Hennessy, the founder of the brand. This does not mean that the other three have trouble selling, as the differences are very slight. However, over the years, Hennessy has managed to climb to the top of the leaderboard. 

Hennessy’s price ranges from $50 to $2000, so you can take your pick according to your pocket. Nevertheless, you can find Hennessy even below the bottom price, but you won’t be buying genuine Hennessy. 

Fake Hennessy is getting increasingly popular on the market, and the less experienced buyers, which are plenty, have a hard time distinguishing it from the authentic Hennessy. However, there are some Hennessy fakes even an experienced cognac enthusiasts would mistake for the real thing. 


So, how to spot a fake Hennessy? 

A fake Hennessy can be hard to spot, especially if you don’t have much experience in the cognac department. Nevertheless, there are a few parameters you can check to see if your Hennessy bottle is the real deal. Always check the price and compare it to the prices of other Hennessy bottles available online. Check the color and bottle, and also the cork. 

Hennessy fakes come from distillers that produce cognac and sell it as Hennessy, bottled in Hennessy bottles. The Nigerian Hennessy are the most famous ones, but they are not the only ones. There are other Hennessy fakes from other parts of the world, but they aren’t very well-known yet, but; as I said, this is an expanding market.

Since Hennessy cognac is not absolutely unaffordable, as even the cheapest one is still a Hennessy and, therefore, a liquid velvet, it is absolutely worth it to treat yourself with a bottle of the good stuff. 

Some Hennessy fakes are pretty convincing, especially to the untrained eye, and they can undoubtedly offer you enjoyment. However, they do not have what Hennessy does. If you have never had genuine Hennessy, you might like a Hennessy fake, but no matter how much you like it, you will like the real stuff much better. 

In this article, I will explain how to spot fake Hennessy, which parameters to check, and what to keep an eye on. The biggest shame in the fine alcohol department is having a superb affordable drink and still opting for a fake one. Hennessy takes skill, time, and devotion which can definitely not be replicated. 

Cognac isn’t something you can make at home, such as brewing your own beer, meaning you need a genuine and authentic drink to be able to fully experience the spirit. So, keep reading to get better educated on the subject of fake Hennessy. 


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1. The Price 

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. When someone offers you a Hennessy for $50 while its regular price is $500, your money is better used thrown in the street. 

Hennessy fakes are far cheaper than the originals. The cheapest Hennessy costs about $50, so you have absolutely no reason to pay the $50 for a fake when you can pay the precisely same amount for an original one. 

If you are an experienced cognac drinker and are well familiar with the Hennessy types and their prices, you are highly unlikely to be fooled. However, if you don’t have enough experience and are just starting your cognac journey, you will probably get scammed. 

To avoid this, always check the price of an available online Hennessy of the same type you are offered for a cheap copy. The Hennessy prices vary, but not by that much. A $10 difference is not alarming, but if you are offered with a $40 bottle of Hennessy that costs $500, it is definitely a fake.

2. The Color

Before buying Hennessy, educate yourself on the color. A genuine Hennessy has a deep, amber color. It resembles honey mixed with peach. The shades are very seductive, and you can taste them just by looking at them. 

The genuine Hennessy’s high viscosity is visible from its color, so you will definitely know that it is the real deal. Again, an experienced cognac drinker would notice the shades missing from a fake one, but things get more complicated if you lack the experience. 

A fake Hennessy doesn’t appear that rich. Its color is lemony yellowish, with just a hint of amber. It isn’t as deep as that of the genuine Hennessy, but it is still close enough to trick a beginner. 

The viscosity of the fake Hennessy isn’t remotely as high as that of the genuine one, so look at the bottle from all angles and compare it with a genuine one; it’s just an online search away. 

Also check: How Much Does White Hennessy Cost? 

3. The Cork 

The cork tells you everything you need to know. However, taking off the cork means that you will have to buy the bottle, which may be a fake. Luckily, there is a way to use the cork as a fake Hennessy signal without removing it from the bottle. 

Take the bottle and try to move the cork gently. If the cork moves, even slightly, it is most certainly a fake. Hennessy corks never move or wobble. They use special laser technology to cork-seal their bottles, making sure that no air penetrates the bottle. 

Since they cork-seal the bottles using machines, there is no space for an error, as there is no human factor whatsoever. If the cork wobbles, the drink has been made at home and cork-sealed by a person, not a machine. 

4. The Bottle 

 A genuine Hennessy bottle is very particular and easily recognizable. You can copy the rest of the bottle, such as the size and the shape, but you cannot copy the detail. 

A genuine Hennessy bottle is engraved. The engraving is not easily visible, but you can definitely feel the ridges. The engraving is right under the label, and it is “1785”. If the bottle you are tempted to buy does not contain this engraving or it contains another combination of the numbers, it isn’t Hennessy. 


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Another thing to be careful about with the bottle is the writing on the label. Hennessy’s label writing is impeccable. It is written in clear English with aesthetically pleasing letters. There are no smidges, merged letters, or broken English. 

Therefore, even the slightest stain on the label gives out a fake Hennessy. 

Also, check for the declaration, i.e., the excise stamp (which is a counterfeit in fake Hennessy). It states the exact amount in the bottle. Hennessy is usually sold in 350 ml. or 750 ml. bottles. If you see anything above or below those quantities, the bottle is most certainly a fake.

How Can You Tell a Fake Hennessy Barcode?

Since it is likely illegally produced and not registered with the authorities, fake Hennessy doesn’t bear a genuine barcode. Still, counterfeiting is a form of art, and expect the fake barcode to be quite convincing. 

To determine whether it is fake or not, you will have to touch it. Genuine Hennessy barcodes are stamped on a very soft and subtle paper. They will be smooth and refined to the touch. 

A counterfeited Hennessy barcode is rough to the touch, and the bars will likely get blurry once you run your fingers over them. Inspect the barcode closely, and see if the white bars are clearly separated from the black ones. 

What Is the Original Hennessy?

The original Hennessy is a cognac with superb quality and affordable prices. It is amber-colored, with shades of honey and peach. The original Hennessy bottle is very particular, containing engraved numbers right below the label. 

The numbers aren’t visible at first, but you can feel them if you touch the bottle. The numbers engraved in the original Hennessy bottle are “1785”. The label writing is impeccable, with clear letters and in perfect English. 

The original Hennessy contains an excise stamp stating the quantity of the drink, and the barcode is clear and easily visible. It is made of soft paper, smooth to the touch. 

The cork is perfectly fitted, and it doesn’t move or wobble. 

What Color Is Hennessy?

Genuine Hennessy has a very seductive, rich, and deep color, stimulating your taste buds even before tasting the cognac. It is predominantly amber, resembling the honey and peach combination. It demonstrates the high Hennessy viscosity, and you can tell that the drink is of top quality just by looking at it. 

How To Spot Fake Hennessy XO?

Spotting fake Hennessy XO is not very different from spotting any fake Hennessy. You should keep an eye on the same parameters I explained above. So, check the label to see if the letters are clear and correctly written. 


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Inspect the excise stamp to see the quantity indicated on it. Closely check the bottle for the “1785″ engraving, and check the cork to see if it moves when touched gently. Also, keep an eye on the barcode and see if it is clear and if the black and white lines are clearly separated. Touch it and see how the paper feels; if the bottle is genuine, then the barcode paper is soft and smooth. 

How To Scan Hennessy Barcode?

Bootleggers are many things, but stupid isn’t one of them. They can mimic the taste, color, and bottle to perfection, but they cannot fake a barcode. 

The rising number of fake alcoholic drinks has become so high that now there is a way to scan the barcode yourself and see if the drink is genuine. 

A simple google search is all you need to do to know for sure if the drink is genuine or fake. In the google bar on your phone, select search with camera. Once your camera search is open, just place the phone over the barcode, and it will scan it, giving you all data related to it. 

If there are data available regarding that barcode, it is a genuine Hennessy. If there are no data related to that barcode, or if google can’t find anything at all, it is most certainly a fake. 

A genuine barcode is always registered, so if you scan it, it will pop right up.

How To Spot Fake Hennessy VSOP?

Spotting a fake Hennessy VSOP goes the same way as spotting the XO. Always check the price, the color, the cork, the label, and the barcode. 

There is also another feature you can check, but it is such a small detail you may not see, even if you are looking for it. This little detail is a little red tag line that is slightly visible when you break open the seal on the cap. If this tag line is too visible, your Hennessy bottle is a fake. 

How To Spot Fake Pure White Hennessy?

From all the parameters I explained in the former sections, the color is the most obvious way to spot a fake Pure White Hennessy. Deeper and darker colors are easier to counterfeit, while lighter and brighter are harder to mimic. 

There is no middle ground with light colors, and therefore a fake Pure White Hennessy is neither pure nor white. It is somewhat blurry and often a bit darker than the genuine version. There are fakes that are even lighter than the original Pure White Hennessy, and they seem almost like rubbing alcohol. 

Of all Hennessy types, I would say that this one is easiest to spot if it is fake. Even if you don’t inspect the other parameters, the color will undoubtedly rat it out.



Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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