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Hennessy VS (Very Special) Cognac


Inarguably the most popular and best selling brand of Cognac in the world, Hennessy's might is staggering. 

Part of the Big Four Cognac houses (Hennessy, Martell, Remy Martin and Courvoisier), Hennessy is by far the leader of the pack, with three bottles sold for every one bottle sold by its distant second in line of the Big Four. While Hennessy is the second youngest of the Big Four, it rose to fame on the back of quite a number of historic matters its brought to the world of Cognacs, such as the creation of the VSOP and XO labels. It was also quite the pioneer in being an ally to the Black community in America, which paid the Cognac house back in kind through heavy promotion of its name in many a rap lyric.



The Hennessy estate which you can visit!


Of course, today Hennessy might even be better known as the "H" in luxury giant LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy). But let's get back to matters at hand.

I'll take this opportunity to demystify some Cognac 101s. To start with, Cognac is at its simplest brandy or eaux-de-vie produced in the Cognac region of France using grapes - now, of course as with anything French, there are some major regulations on what is needed to be classified as Cognac, but as a spirit, it is a fruit brandy from a specified region. Something else that will definitely elevate your Cognac game, is to know that not every Cognac house (and there are somewhere between 200 - 300) produces their own brandy - some are distillers making their own, whilst others are negociants who purchase brandy from other distillers - Hennessy is both, producing and sourcing its brandies which in turn are blended and sold under the label.

So with that let's start with the world's most sold Cognac - the Hennessy VS.

The Hennessy VS, which stands for Very Special, is the brand's entry level Cognac, equivalent to what was the 3-Star grading, and is matured in new oak barrels for between 2 - 5 years, with an average age of about 2.5 - 3 years, and is composed of a blend of 40 different eaux-de-vie both Hennessy-distilled and sourced from across Cognac.


Hennessy VS (Very Special) Cognac - Review


Tasting Notes

Color: Dark Honey

Aroma: Caramel, raisins, orange zest, dried apricots, light bit of cinnamon and nutmeg spice, apple pie, vanilla sauce, and also a good amount of black grape skins giving a little bit of tannin. There’s some bits of old lacquered wooden furniture - light resin notes, tobacco leaves, and chocolate. Richer than you might’ve expected.

Taste: More caramel, even more raisins, butterscotch, brown sugar, light bit of dried apricots, peaches, orange blossoms, vanilla sauce, milk chocolate and coconut flakes. It sports a slightly lighter than medium body, but it works sufficiently for sipping. 

Finish: Just slightly more dry here - with alittle bit more of the wood tannins being showcased. It fades out with a gentle sweetness of caramel and raisins. Orange blossoms and apple pie linger on the finish.


My Thoughts

Now let’s face it - this is Henny’s entry level offering so you can’t be going too wild with your expectations here. But for what it’s worth, this is actually a very tasty, well-balanced and flavour forward Cognac that’s actually very enjoyable even for sipping. Really lovable flavours that are wholesome, nostalgic and very approachable, with not much of an alcoholic bite, it’s actually surprisingly smooth and rounded, and very aromatic.

If there were any drawback, it’d be that over time, it’s easy to get used to the lighter than medium body on the Henny VS, which then tends to feel alittle light and thin after a while. And sure, it doesn’t sport the most depth or complexity (alittle one dimensional after awhile), but again, for what it’s worth, it’s actually pretty solid.

It’s a great starter for anyone trying to get into Cognac. Nice bottle as well.


My Rating: 7.5/10


Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.