What Does Hennessy Taste Like: All You Need to Know!

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Hennessy is one of the most known cognac producers in the world, founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy. This great-tasting cognac is drunk worldwide, and you can find it in various expressions of different ages.

In general, the well-known Hennessy has a rich, sweet, vanilla, oaky, slightly spicy taste with floral, fruity, cinnamon, caramel, and chocolate hints.

Hennessy V.S. is this cognac’s youngest and most popular expression, which isn’t very expensive but tastes great. It’s perfect on its own, on ice, or mixed in cocktails.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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There are also older expressions of the Hennessy cognac, which have better taste and a higher price. However, before we discuss the taste of the Hennessy cognac in detail, let’s see how Hennessy is made.

What’s Hennessy Cognac Made of?

Hennessy and other cognacs must follow some standards to be labeled as cognac.

Every cognac must be produced in the French region Cognac from a specific type of grapes, double distilled in copper pot stills, and aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years.

Hennessy is one of the finest brandies with a particular flavor that depends on the type of grapes used from the Cognac region, the distillation and blending processes, and the aging time.

The older the cognac is, the better flavor it has.

Younger cognacs have fresh fruits, flowers, and citrus flavors. In comparison, the older ones have deeper flavors of dried fruits and flowers, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon, nuts, chocolate, and cigars.

Most of the Hennessy cognacs are bottled at 40% ABV.

Hennessy is a versatile cognac that works equally well in classic recipes and modern cocktails to create drinks with unique flavors. You can enjoy it straight, on ice, or mixed into cocktails.

Also check: Hennessy Bottle Sizes And Prices Guide

Factors That Affect the Taste of Hennessy

Two main factors affect the taste of Hennessy cognac. The forty distillation process and The French oak barrels.

Forty Distillation Process

The white grapes used for the production of Hennessy are dry and acidic and are great for distillation and aging. After the grapes are pressed, the grape juice is left to ferment with wild yeasts for 2-3 weeks.

During the fermentation process, the fruit sugars are converted into alcohol. Then the wine is double distilled in copper pot stills. The result of the distillation is a colorless eau de vie with about 7 % alcohol.

French Oak Barrel

After the fermentation and distillation, the eau de vie is aged in French oak barrels for a minimum of 2 years.

Hennessy develops a dry, sweet oaky flavor that intensifies with aging. 

Also check: 20 Best Hennessy Cocktails

Is Hennessy Good Tasting?

Each Hennessy cognac is a blend of at least two eau de vie. In general, Hennessy has a rich, sweet, vanilla, oaky, slightly spicy taste with floral, fruity, cinnamon, caramel, and chocolate hints.

There are different types of Hennessy you can choose from depending on the taste you want to get and the price you a willing to pay.

As the taste of Hennessy gets better, the price goes higher. Hennessy also has special and limited edition expressions available with unique flavors.

The official quality grades of cognac include:

  • V.S. – very special, aged for at least two years
  • V.S.O.P. – very superior old pale, aged for at least four years
  • Napoleon – aged for at least six years
  • XO – extra old, aged for at least ten years
  • XXO – even extra old, aged for at least 14 years
  • Hors d ‘age – beyond the official age scale

The taste of each of these cognacs is different. Here’s how:

  • V.S. Hennessy has a rich, creamy, fruity, floral, slightly spicy vanilla flavor.
  • V.S.O.P. has dominated dried fruits and flower flavors.
  • Napoleon has a taste of dried fruits and spices like vanilla and cinnamon.
  • XO has a rich taste of dried fruit, toffee, warm spices, chocolate, nuts, and cigars.
  • XXO has a unique flavor known as ‘rancio,’ with notes of iris, jasmine, vanilla, passion fruit, cigar box, and black truffle.
  • Hors d ‘age is a cognac with a very complex flavor; every bottle is a story for itself.

Different Types of Hennessy and How They Taste

Hennessy offers a variety of cognacs.

Their taste varies depending on the ingredients used for their production, distillation process, aging time, and blending of various eau de vie to get the desired flavor.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hennessy special and limited editions can contain 100 or even more different eau de vie; some can be aged for centuries. They’re also packed in custom–made boxes and luxury packages, making them a great gift option.

So if you want to buy a bottle of Hennessy but don’t know which one to choose, keep reading to learn more about all these great-tasting Hennessy cognacs.

Depending on your taste preferences and the budget you’re willing to pay for a bottle of Hennessy, you can choose some of the following Hennessy cognacs. 

Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection 

If you’re a cognac lover, then Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection is a must-have because they a limited edition release and will not be available again.

Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection started in 2017, and the number 4 its latest version was released in 2021.

Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection N°4 is made with at least five years old high-quality eau de vie and has a rich, sweet, fruity flavor with notes of fresh apricot and candied orange peel.

This cognac is best consumed neat to taste its great flavor.

Hennessy Black

Hennessy Black is a cognac with a pale–gold color packaged in a bell-shaped black bottle. This cognac is a blend of more than 45 eau de vie and has aged for five years. Hennessy Black is a smooth cognac bottled at 43% ABV.

It has a fresh cognac grapes flavor with hints of citrus, sweet honey, and jasmine. You can serve Hennessy Black mixed with cola, tonic water, or ginger ale, but it’s also good in cocktails. 

Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilége is a classic cognac created in 1817 as a special order for future England’s King George IV. This cognac is a blend of more than 60 eau de vie and is aged for up to 15 years.

This beverage has a well-balanced fruity, vanilla, spices, and mild tobacco flavor. You can serve this great cognac neat, on rocks, or in your favorite cocktails.

Hennessy V.S

Hennessy V.S is young cognac aged only two years. It’s a blend of about 40 eau de vie and has a pretty smooth texture with fruit, oak, and vanilla taste.

Hennessy V.S is a versatile cognac you can serve on the rocks, with cola, soda, or ginger ale, or use to make cocktails.

Hennessy X.O

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Hennessy X.O –Extra Old cognac is a blend of over 100 eau de vie .The oldest eau de vie is 30 years old, while the youngest eau de vie in the blend is ten years old.

Hennessy X.O has a smooth and thick texture and a combination of sweet, candied fruits, spices, vanilla, dark chocolate, and oak flavors.

The only bad thing is that it’s a little pricey. Hennessy X.O is best served on ice to enjoy its perfect taste.

Hennessy X.X.O

Hennessy X.X.O is a must-have for every cognac lover and collector. This great-tasting cognac was first made in 1870 alongside Hennessy X.O. and recreated in 2018.

Hennessy X.X.O is made with a selected eau de vie where the youngest eau de vie in the blend is aged for a minimum of 14 years, and the oldest eau de vie is up to 50 years old.

This cognac has a rich, complex aroma of freshly grated nutmeg, bitter orange, licorice stick, delicate spices, and dried peppermint leaf.

Hennessy X.X.O has a rich, well-balanced blend of flavors with a long finish. You can buy this unique cognac, drink it neat, and enjoy every sip.

Hennessy Paradis

This limited edition cognac is produced from the finest Bordeaux grapes and bottled in a beautifully designed decanter. But what is inside the decanter is also important because it’s one great-tasting cognac reserved for special occasions.

Hennessy Paradise has a silky texture and honey, truffles, and dried flowers flavor with hints of cardamom, cinnamon, and fruits. Serve it in a tulip glass and drink slowly to enjoy.

Hennessy Paradis Imperial

Hennessy Paradis Imperial is the enriched version of the Hennessy Paradis. This is one of the most expensive cognacs, a 100 eau de vie blend.

The minimum age of the youngest eau de vie in the blend is 30 years, while the oldest eau de vie is 130 years old. Hennessy Paradis Imperial is bottled at 40% ABV and has well-balanced fruity, floral, spicy, and oak flavors.

With the first sip, you will taste clove, cinnamon, and the toasted oak flavors, followed by spring flowers and apricot notes. It would be best if you served this drink neat.

Hennessy Pure White

 

 
 
 
 
 
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White Hennessy is produced with the finest white grapes from the Cognac region. The eau de vie for Hennessy Pure White are floral and fruity and are aged between 2 and 50 years.

Therefore, Hennessy Pure White has a fresh and light aroma of spring flowers and sweet fruits like apples, grapes, and pears. White Hennessy has a delicious fresh taste with hints of grapes and spring white flowers honey.

You can serve White Hennessy neat, on ice with fresh fruit juice or soda, or use it in your cocktails and mixed drinks.

Hennessy Fine de Cognac

Hennessy Fine de Cognac is made with a blend of more than 60 eau de vie with floral and fruity flavors aged between 4-10 years.

It’s a light cognac with a taste of cinnamon, honey, lemon, orange blossom, fruits, and grilled almonds. Hennessy Fine de cognac can be served on rocks, neat, and in various cocktails.

Richard Hennessy

This masterpiece of the Hennessy collection was created in honor of Richard Hennessy-Irish military officer and a founder of the Hennessy cognac company. Richard Hennessy is a unique blend of 100 rare and exceptional eau de vie.

The youngest eau de vie is 45 years old, while the oldest is 200 years old. Richard Hennessy is bottled in a hand-crafted crystal decanter, and it has a beautiful amber color and a mixture of rare and unique flavors.

With the first sip, you will taste the flavor of preserved fruits, spices, and leather. Richard Hennessy is one of the greatest tasting and delicious cognacs worth trying.

Also check: What To Mix With Hennessy

What Does Hennessy Taste Similar to?

Hennessy is a type of brandy that tastes similar to classic brandy. Brandy is a distilled spirit from fermented fruits like grapes, apples, peaches, apricots, and others.

Fruits are fermented by adding yeast to the fruit mash, distilled, and aged in wooden barrels. Brandy is usually bottled at 35-60% ABV. It has a sweet, fruity, oaky flavor similar to Hennessy’s.

Hennessy is also compared to other spirits like bourbon, whiskey, and rum but doesn’t have a similar taste.

Bourbon

Hennessy and bourbon don’t have a similar taste because of their different ingredients, distillation, and the aging process. Bourbon is made with a mash bill containing at least 51% corn; the remaining percentage is barley, wheat, and rye.

Hennessy is made with white grapes and has a fruity, floral, vanilla, and oak flavor.

In comparison, bourbon has a vanilla, caramel, and oak flavor. Hennessy and bourbon are aged in oak barrels; their taste has similar oak notes. 

Whiskey

Hennessy and whiskey don’t have a similar taste because they’re made with different ingredients. Whiskey is made with grains like barley, wheat, corn, or rye.

At the same time, Hennessy is made with specific types of grapes from the Cognac region in France. The only similar thing between whiskey and Hennesy is that they’re both aged in oak barrels and have an oaky flavor.

Rum

Hennessy and rum also have different tastes. Rum is a liquor made by fermenting and distilling sugarcane juice or molasses. Same as Hennessy rum is aged in oak barrels, usually ex-bourbon barrels or stainless steel casks. Rum is bottled at 40-80% ABV.

It has a sweet, smooth, rich, smoky flavor. Rum has a sweeter taste than Hennessy’s floral, fruity, vanilla, and oak flavor.

There are various types of rum like light, dark, gold, flavored, overproof, spiced, and premium rums. Light rums are usually used in cocktails, while dark, golden, and premium rums are best used neat or on the rocks.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Is Hennessy Sweet or Bitter?

There are several different types of Hennessy, each with its specific flavor. However, generally, Hennessy has a sweet, rich, vanilla, oaky, slightly spicy taste with floral, fruity, cinnamon, caramel, and chocolate hints.

Is Hennessy Smooth to Drink?

Hennessy is smooth to drink and is perfect for sipping neat and enjoying its great taste. But it can also be served on the rocks or to make some great-tasting cocktails.

Does Hennessy Taste Sweet?

Hennessy tastes sweet and is well known for its unique flavor profile. With floral and fruity hints, you can taste its rich, sweet, vanilla, oak, and slightly spicy taste.

Does Hennessy Taste Like Bourbon?

Hennessy and bourbon are stored in oak barrels which contributes to their great taste, but Hennessy doesn’t taste like bourbon. Bourbon is made with a mash bill containing at least 51% corn; the remaining percentage is barley, wheat, and rye.

Hennessy is made with special types of grapes from the Cognac region in France. Bourbon has a vanilla, caramel, and oak flavor, while Hennessy has a lighter, fruity, floral, vanilla, and oak flavor.

Does Hennessy Taste Like Whiskey?

Hennessy doesn’t taste like whiskey because Hennessy is made with grapes, while whiskey is made with grains like barley, wheat, corn, or rye.

There are various types of whiskey with different tastes, and some of them are fruity, sweet, smoky, and nutty. At the same time, Hennessy has a fruity, floral, oak, and vanilla taste.

What Does White Hennessy Taste Like?

White Hennessy is produced with the finest white grapes from the Cognac region.

It has a fresh and light aroma of spring flowers and sweet fruits like apples, grapes, and pears. White Hennessy has a delicious fresh taste with hints of grapes and spring white flowers honey.

You can serve White Hennessy neat, on ice with fresh fruit juice or soda, or use it in your cocktails and mixed drinks. 

Does Hennessy Taste Like Jack Daniels?

Hennessy doesn’t taste like Jack Daniels. Hennessy is made with grapes, while Jack Daniels is made with corn, barley, and rye.

Hennessy has a floral, fruity, oaky, and vanilla flavor, while Jack Daniels has a sweet, oaky, and cinnamon flavor. 

What Does Hennessy Smell Like?

Hennessy is aged in French oak barrels, and due to the aging process, it has a potent smell of oak, vanilla, and nuts.

Does Hennessy Taste Good Straight?

Hennessy doesn’t taste good straight-it tastes great. You can pour Hennessy into a brandy snifter and enjoy its smooth, creamy texture and sweet, fruity, floral, slightly spicy vanilla and oak flavor.

How Do I Store A Bottle Of Hennessy?

If you have a bottle of Hennessy at home, it’s very important to store it properly to preserve its great taste. Hennessy recommends that you should keep the Hennessy bottle upright, no matter if it’s opened or unopened.

The reason for this rule is to prevent any potential contact with the cork, which can affect the taste of the cognac. So if you have a bottle of Hennessy, keep it upright and enjoy its delicious taste.

Cheers!

Now that you know how some Hennessy variations taste, please choose the one you like the most and make it you’re favorite.

Chad Smith

Hello and Welcome, I am Chad, a formal bartender. I created this blog to help readers make exotic cocktails at home.

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