Hennessy is the largest cognac house in the world. Founded by Irish immigrant Richard Hennessy, the House of Hennessy commands approximately 40% of the world cognac market. Hennessy produces a full range of quality products from its V.S. to Paradise cognacs. Hennessy is now owned by French luxury goods conglomerate Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
Hennessy is the clear cognac market leader in the category not because of lower prices, but rather due to quality, marketing and name recognition. Indeed, Hennessy’s V.S., V.S.O.P Privilege and XO Cognacs are priced at the high end of the range of most cognac houses‘ Cognac offerings.
Hennessy Black was created in 2009 specifically for use in cocktails. Hennessy Black is intended to be used as a mixer not just in Cognac cocktails but also to be used in place of other spirits in cocktails where cognac is not the main spirit.
Hennessy’s website notes:
“Hennessy Black’s bright flavors and smooth character are ideal for cocktails, and it can be used in a variety of recipes that traditionally call for other spirits”
We tasted Hennessy Black neat in a cognac snifter and in a few cocktails. Here is our Hennessy Black cognac review.
Hennessy Black is priced higher than any of the big four cognac houses’ (Hennessy, Remy Martin, Martell and Courvoisier) V.S. offerings. Hennessy Black is not designated a V.S. cognac, but due to its young age it would fall in the V.S. category.
Alcohol: 43% (86 proof)
Age: Hennessy Black is a blend of about 45 different eaux-de-vie made from Ugni Blanc grapes that are aged about two or more years in French Limousin oak barrels that have been used at least five years.
Hennessy Black is packaged in an attractive black bell-shaped bottle – the same shape bottle that Hennessy V.S. is packaged. A medallion reading “Maison Fondee 1765” twice is embossed at the base of the neck. The front of the bottle reads “Hennessy Black” “Distinctively Smooth” “Cognac” “JAS Hennessy & Co”.
Light yellow gold, a product of a clear lack of aging.
The Nose (Nez)
Orange, jasmine and grape.
Mouth (En Bouche)
Honey, cedar, jasmine, floral.
Short surprisingly sharp spice bite.
Hennessy suggests that Black can be drunk neat (Black Velvet). Other than out of curiosity, there is no reason to choose Hennessy Black as a sipping cognac. Hennessy Black is as Hennessy intends – a cognac for mixing. Hennessy Black was created to be a versatile cocktail mixer, for use with mixers not normally associated with cognacs, like Coca-cola, or in cocktails unique to Hennessy Black.
Hennessy promotes the use of Hennessy Black in a large number of recommended cocktail recipes , including Hennessy Black Bull ( Hennessy Black, coca-cola and coffee liqueur) and Hennessy Black Trail Blazer (Hennessy Black, lemon juice, Agave nectar Orange bitters), Hennessy Black Royale (Hennessy Black, champagne and simple sugar) and Black Maple ( Hennessy Black, maple syrup and soda).
We tried all of the above cocktails and we found that Hennessy achieved what is set out to do with Hennessy Black – make a versatile mixer. Hennessy Black is a cognac we think better suited to mixing than sipping. We look forward to comparing Hennessy Black with other cognac houses V.S. cognacs in classic cognac cocktails to see if there is an advantage to choosing Hennessy Black as our cognac to use in cocktails.
For information on visiting Hennessy click here.