Hennessy’s New Master Blender Selection Cognac Is One of Its Best

Hennessy is the biggest name in Cognac, outselling other big houses like Courvoisier and Remy Martin every year. That is mostly based on sales of its VS and VSOP expressions, but Hennessy also has some special releases that rise above the rest and are still relatively reasonably priced. One of them is the Master Blender’s Selection; the fifth edition just dropped after a three-year absence, and it’s another success.

As indicated by its name, this is a special release created by the master blender, in this case eighth-generation Hennessy master blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde. The first release, No. 1, came out in 2016, and the last arrived in 2021—according to the brand, there is really no set schedule for the Master Blender’s Selection so the delay isn’t really attributed to anything in particular. Making Cognac is ultimately a group effort, with each house relying on individual producers who cultivate grapes and distill wine into eaux-de-vie, which the master blender than selects and blends into the final product after aging. For Master Blender’s Selection No. 5, de Gironde selected eaux-de-vie from 18 different family distillers that were aged for a minimum of seven years in French oak barrels.

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“I wanted to pay tribute to the artisans behind the scenes—exclusive Hennessy distillers who are experts and share with us, year after year, first-rate eaux-de-vie remarkable for their purity, finesse and potential,” said de Gironde in a statement. “Some have been with us almost since the maison was founded over 200 years ago. It generally takes many years of training between generations for the son or daughter of the current distiller to take over. It’s with these future generations that we’ll continue to grow and offer Cognacs rooted in our terroir yet deeply contemporary in nature.”

This is a really tasty Cognac, with a soft and refined palate that is full of notes of candied orange, chocolate, and a variety of fruits and spices. A sip reveals flavors like cherry, fig, cinnamon, nutmeg, and raisin, along with notes of oak, vanilla, and bittersweet cocoa. The spirit is built for sipping instead of mixing—although go ahead make a Sazerac or Cognac Manhattan with it, if you are so inclined—and at 86 proof there is a bit of heft on the palate that you won’t find with the VS, VSOP, and even XO expressions. Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 5 (SRP $100) is available to purchase now from websites like ReserveBar.

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