When your cognac house turns 250, you kind of have to do something big. Hennessy has chosen to mark this milestone with the bluntly named 250 Collector Blend, a limited-edition bottling that brings together spirits from four different decades in one elegant bottle.
If we set aside the big anniversary, the 250 Collector Blend is really all about master blender Yann Fillioux. He started training at Hennessy when he was only 19 years old and he's now been with the company for 50 years. He's created some super limited cognacs before, including the Paradis Impérial and Richard Hennessy blends, but this blend represents a middle ground: It's a special blend that's still limited-edition, but it's not so limited that only a few dozen people will ever taste it. Think of it as the entry point to Hennessy's super premium offerings.
Work on the 250 Collector Blend began almost a decade ago, with Fillioux creating a preliminary recipe from his then 40 years with the maison. He then blended enough cognac to fill 250 Limousin oak barrels, each of which held 250 liters. After marrying in these new casks, the liquid was pulled out, diluted down to 40 percent alcohol, and filled into 1-liter glass decanters with hefty metal stoppers, packaged in custom-designed display boxes.
While the cognac has a reddish tone in the decanter, it's much more golden in the glass. The nose is heavy on orange peel, cloves, milk chocolate, and cinnamon, with hints of bubble gum and cherries developing with time. It's extremely viscous, and when rolled around in the glass, it clings to the sides with almost no tears running down. That texture translates clearly as you take a sip, with cocoa powder, stewed fruits, and peach skin flavors hitting you first. As you swallow and exhale, a soft menthol flavor lingers, which is something I've never tasted in a cognac. It's great.
While Hennessy isn't releasing the details of the recipe or exactly how many bottles are out there, the cognacs in the blend are all between 15 and 40 years old and distribution is limited. When it's sold out, it's sold out, and no more will be made. While you can try and do some math (250 barrels, with 250 liters in each), evaporation, dilution, and some other factors make getting an exact number impossible.
While customers picking up bottles at their local liquor stores is a part of Hennessy's strategy here, the 250 Collector Blend is also at the bars of restaurants like New York City's Polo Bar and the St. Regis, San Francisco's Farmers Union and Bijou, and London's 5 Hertford Street and the Berkeley. If you don't want to shell out for the whole bottle, a single glass will set you back between $100 and $150.
We're also told there's something even bigger coming later this year, and we'll have more on that for you soon. All your top cognac news, right here.
The Hennessy 250 Collector Blend is a limited edition and is on sale now. It is available only in 1-liter bottles and is priced at $600.