Hennessy is undoubtedly one the most prominent names in the world of alcoholic beverages. Established in 1765, Hennessy has stood the test of time by remaining consistent in crafting superior cognacs of the highest quality which makes it easy to see why the brand is held in such high regard to this day.
Similar to any other spirit, Hennessy comes in many variations. On that note, you’ve probably stumbled across the acronym ‘VSOP‘ embedded on a bottle of Hennessy – but have you ever wondered what it actually stood for?
Back in the year 1983, the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac) requested the French government to form a rating system for cognacs. Following this, acronyms such as VS, VSOP and XO (among other labels) were created to categorise cognacs based on their age and overall quality.
Let’s break them down
VS = “Very Special“: only eaux-de-vie (a colourless fruit brandy made through distillation and double fermentation) aged in oak barrels for a minimum of two years can be used to make a VS cognac. Alternatively, cognac bottles that feature 3 stars ✯✯✯ on them also mean that its contents are of VS quality.
XO = “Extra Old“: Cognacs that fall under the XO variety are made only from eaux-de-vie that has been aged for at least six years. Similar to VS cognacs, other terms such as “Napoleon” or “Old Reserve” can also be used to describe XO cognacs.
VSOP = ‘Very Superior Old Pale’
Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège was the first ever cognac to be designated as a ‘very special old pale’. This delectable beverage was first produced in 1818 at the request of King George IV of Great Britain and is created from roughly over 60 blends of eaux-de-vie aged for at least four years.
The term ‘old pale‘ comes from the use of caramel colouring added into the mix of the final product. This cognac releases very mature notes, evoking the aroma of fresh fruit coupled with a sensation of suppleness that settles in to underscore the harmony of this cognac.
In regards to it’s taste, the sensation of a full body deepens with the flavours of juicy fruits, vanilla, spices and mild tobacco also provided by the vigour of the younger eaux-de-vie. It’s finish has a flamboyant mahogany tinge with light notes to match.
Is It A Good Drink?
Hopefully this is obvious, but the only person able to decide whether a drink is truly good or not… is you! Everybody has their own preferences and rituals when it comes to enjoying a good drink or two. So the only way to find out, is by grabbing a bottle and judging for yourself.
As for Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège, its continued success over 200 years is a testament to the quality of the spirit itself. Everything from its superior taste, delightful aromas and even the regal design of the bottle has contributed to this cognac’s longevity.
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