Hennessy VSOP—the "very special old pale" brandy the company ages in Cognac, France for at least four years—is more than just a drink; it's a way of life. First We Feast recently sat down with Chef Henny, the social media star known for dousing his food in dark liquor, who said the beverage was a "natural resource," not unlike water. "If it ain’t brown, don’t bring it around,” he explained. “If it ain’t Hen, don’t drink it again.”
Now, in a new video for CNN's Great Big Story, the masterminds behind Hennessy give cognac fans an inside look at what makes the "magic juice" so very special.
“When making a VSOP, everything is linked together,” Yann Fillioux, a master blender with the company, speaking as though he's discussing a great symphony. “If you achieve all the different levels, then you get the perfect VSOP.”
Hennessy has been making cognac for over 250 years, so it’s safe to say the company knows a thing or two about perfecting each barrel of liquor. It helps that every morning, in what could be the coolest business meeting of all time, Hennessy’s master blenders begin the day by tasting their product, gathering around a conference table and spitting the liquor into silver spittoons.
Hennessy achieves the perfect harmony in its products by ensuring each step of the process is overseen by an expert. One professional oversees the vineyards, another oversees distilling, and yet another oversees the barrel-making and aging processes. Hennessy’s master blenders stress that “it’s not magic,” however. Creating harmony isn’t a happy accident; it’s a painstaking process they build over and over again in each and every bottle.
"Anywhere you go in the world, when you open a bottle of Hennessy VSOP, you will find the same balance, the same harmony," Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, Yann's nephew, says.
Even though cognac is produced in southern France, the country exports nearly 97 percent of its product, according to Slate. Rappers especially love cognac in all its different manifestations, from Hennessy to Martell to Rémy Martin to Courvoisier, to Jay Z’s own D'USSE. It’s a fandom cognac producers are aware of, and seem to embrace.
"I believe in Hennessy as a brand and I believe in myself," Nas said of his partnership with the brand in April.
[via Great Big Story]