Because the Hennessy VSOP isn’t being sold in the European Union I combined my trip to the Cognac-area with a visit to the Hennessy store where I bought the Hennessy VSOP but also a Pure White, KAWS VS and a Black.
The Hennessy VSOP is the first to review! Compared to the Hennessy Fine de Cognac (the European Hennessy between the VS and the XO quality) it is much darker in color, but this has mostly to do with the aging.
The Hennessy VSOP comprises a gradual blend of over 60 ‘eaux-de-vie’ aged from 4 years up to 15 years. Compared to the Fine de Cognac which is aged from about 2 to 8 years.
In terms of aroma’s it is quite clear this Hennessy is still a quite young Cognac with a some alcohol in the nose, other flavors are caramel, honey, grass, raisins and woody notes. With this Cognac it is very important to let it breath some minutes before nosing, at four years old it has hardly had time to catch much breath.
The palate is overall quite dry with woody notes, which leads me to some general information about this VSOP on the internet saying: “slowly matured in old barrels, from which most of the tannin has been extracted”.
If I need to be honest, I would say this Cognac is aged in new made barrels for quite a period. You’ll either appreciate the oaky notes or hate it… I like it!
The bottle is very characteristic, inspired by the Hennessy V.S.O.P. bottle created in 1954. This year (2012) the bottle has been changed slightly by Chris Bangle, see the evolution below. According to Hennessy the content didn’t change with the 2012 evolution. I bought the 2011 bottling (middle bottle below) as it was accompanied with two nice glasses for the same price as the new VSOP, although I like the new bottle design more .
The review notes of this Hennessy VSOP Cognac are:
The color: very dark brown for it’s age, with some red-shades….
The nose: caramel, honey, raisins, grass and woody notes
The taste: the palate entry is sweet, nearly syrupy; the midpalate is the best phase as rounded flavors of dark toffee, nougat, and maple work nicely together. Overall quite dry taste.
The after-taste: finishes sweet, sap-like, and acceptably woody.
The origin: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies and Fins Bois.
The age: 4-15 years.
The price: About 35 US dollars
The price / quality ratio: a 7+. Worth having in your collection as it is one of the most well known Cognacs.