This Cognac takes you back to the 40’s. I picture myself sitting in an old chesterfield couch surrounded by a dense fog of cigar smoke and listening to the tunes of Billie Holiday while sipping on this very accomplished XO. It was originally created for the personal use of Mr. Maurice Hennessy and his family back in 1870 but rapidly spread to royal families throughout the world. This partly explains its high status among cognacs. Still its success cannot be credited solely to its history. The taste of this very masculine XO is truly unexceeded, a perfect blend of more than 100 eaux-de-vies. It is more complex than most cognacs and it is hard to describe the taste in just a few words. The palate entry is led by dried exotic fruits, vanilla and raisins that slowly fade into the background as more masculine notes emerge. Wet leather, roasted nuts, and especially white pepper appear towards the end. I am especially impressed by the creamy finish that leaves dark chocolate, caramel and oak lingering on the palate for several minutes. Without a doubt the best thing that has come out of France, liquor-wise that is.
VERDICT: Whether your devotion lies with the masculine or feminine Cognacs I urge you to try Hennessey XO. The floral notes are toned down while the oak grip is very noticeable. In line with the woodiness you have a very delicious bed of both nuts and leathery notes that, in my opinion, separates this Cognac from so many other generics.