Tasting Cognac

Tasting "ceremonial"

First, take the cognac in your hand and look at it. Its color can sometimes give you a clue on its age or what kind of barrel have been used. If it has been matured in new oak cask, its color will be deeper and ambre.

Then you nose your cognac once, this is the "first nose". You can find some light aromas. Swirl your glass a bit. It will release heavier aromas, less volatile, and put your nose quite deep into your glass.
Finally, take a sip of your cognac, don't swirl it into your mouth, because it's a spirit, not a wine. Wait a while, and then breathe by bothyour mouth and nose. This will help you to identify all the families of aromas.

Range Tasting

The best way to give you the notes is to taste the Hennessy range. Not because it's the only one i know, but because according to me, this is probably the best complete, complex and interesting one.


Very Superior Old Pale. Created in 1817 for the King of England. Made with about 60 eaux de vie, aged up to 15 years.

Color : Pale amber color
Nose : Elegance between flowers and spices
Taste : Honey, spices, caramel overtones - sweet, mellow, profound
After taste : not so long
Ways to enjoy : Neat, long drink, cocktail, mizuari

XO :

eXtra Old, created by Hennessy company in 1870. Made with about 100 eaux de vie, aged up to 30 years.

color : deep amber
nose : spices, fruits, flowers, wood - balanced and powerful
taste : prunes, plums, fig, matured and candied fruits, cloves, cardamon, violet - masculin, rich
aftertaste : long and persistant
ways to enjoy : neat, on the rocks, with water (still or sparkling)

Private Reserve 1865 :

Created for the 1st century of the company, with 11 eaux de vie, only coming from Grande champagne area, and aged up to 50 years.

color : bright amber
nose : very floral and delicate
taste : flowers, spices, dried fruits, complex, feminin
aftertaste : elegant and persistant
ways to enjoy : neat

Paradis Extra :

Created in 1979 by Maurice Fillioux with more than 100 eaux de vie aged up to 130 years.
color : intense

nose : spicy and vegetal
taste : spices, wood, flowers - carressing and sensual
aftertaste : feminin and persistant
ways to enjoy : neat, on the rocks, "givre" (-23 C. !), (+cigar)

Richard Hennessy :

Created in 1996 by Yann Fillioux in tribute to the founder. Made with more than 100 eaux de vie, aged up to 200 years.

color : very deep.
nose : spices, over matured fruits, tobacco, rancio
taste : spices, old wood, old fruits, fine flowers - masculin, full bodied
aftertaste : complex, and huge
ways to enjoy : neat (+cigar)