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Testers Keepers: Hennessy XO Cognac taste test review by David Hayto

Posted on 13 July 2023

I think first, I'd have to say how shocked and surprised I was to win an opportunity to review this fine cognac. I very nearly didn't pick up the call when it came, thankfully I did, as it opened a wonderful door of opportunity.

Before I get into the main review of the drink itself, a quick overview of the presentation of the bottle is in order. The box comes with an outer sleeve that is adorned with the artwork of Zhang Enli. A Very colourful design that invokes images of Paris and summer and passion. Sliding the cover off, reveals the more classic Hennessy box, which exudes the class you'd expect from such a spirit. Sliding the box open reveals the bottle, presented in all its wonderful glory, with a short history of the product printed behind it. It felt almost like being a naughty school boy when removing the foil, like an ancient tomb that shouldn't be disturbed or spoiled. The subtle pop of the cork as it opens and the initial aroma as it wafts from the bottle, reinforces the feeling that I'm about to taste real quality.

Hennessy XO Cognac

Now, onto the drink itself.

If you are looking for a premium cognac that offers a complex and satisfying sensory experience, you should definitely try Hennessy XO. This is the original “extra-old” cognac, created in 1870 by Maurice Hennessy for his family and friends. It is a blend of over 100 eaux-de-vie from the finest regions of Cognac, aged for up to 30 years in oak barrels.

Hennessy XO has a deep amber colour and a velvety texture that caresses the palate. The nose is rich and enticing, with aromas of dried fruits, chocolate, black pepper, cinnamon, clove, and cardamom. The taste is balanced and harmonious, with layers of flavours that unfold gradually. You can detect notes of prunes, figs, oak, spices, leather, and vanilla. The finish is long and smooth, with a hint of caramel like sweetness.

Hennessy XO is a cognac that can be enjoyed in different ways. You can sip it neat or on the rocks, or add a splash of water to release its aromas. You can also pair it with food, such as cheese, chocolate, or nuts, the chocolate pairing being my personal favourite, it elevated both the deep flavours within the cognac and the chocolate.

Hennessy XO is not just a cognac; it is, in my opinion a masterpiece of craftsmanship. It is a cognac that celebrates the art of blending and aging, and the history and heritage of Hennessy. It is a cognac that will impress you with its quality and complexity and delight you with its taste and aroma. It is a cognac that deserves to be savoured and shared. I shared mine with my brother-in-law, and have now had to hide the bottle from him for safe keeping.

Hennessy XO is a cognac that I highly recommend to anyone who appreciates fine spirits. It is a cognac that I will now always have in my collection, and that I will always enjoy with pleasure.