Hennessy is a Cognac house founded in 1765 by Richard Hennessy, an Irish officer serving in the army of King Louis XV of France. It has been exporting to the US since 1794, and is noted for producing the first VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) for the future King George IV. The company also as introduced the star rating system in the 1860s, and the first XO Cognac in 1870. It is now part of the LVMH group.
Hennessy is made from grapes harvested from vineyards in the four crus – Grande and Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fin Bois. The company has one of the largest reserves of Cognac in its cellars – there are more than 300,000 casks (each made in Hennessy’s own cooperage), of which many are more than 100 years old, and some as much as 200. Once the barrels are judged to have reached their peak in the oak, the spirit is moved to glass demijohns to await blending.
The blending process has become a dynastic affair at Hennessy; Jean Fillioux became master blender in 1800, the year of Richard Hennessy’s death. Seven generations later, Yann Fillioux is the incumbent.