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New Hennessy Master Blender Named

It’s not every day the reigns are passed along at Hennessy.  Last week, July 1st to be precise, Yann Fillioux stepped down as Hennessy Master Blender.  Fillioux worked for the company for more than a half century, and created the wonderful Hennessy Paradis Imperial in 2015. 

So who takes over?

Fillioux’s nephew – Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, of course.  The Hennessy family and the Fillioux family go back more than 200 years, with the latter involved with creating cognac for seven generations.

Renaude de Gironde would be the eighth-generation Fillioux serving as master blender.  It’s in his blood.  He was born in Cognac and was trained by Yann Fillioux.  Renaude has worked with Hennessy since 2002 in the Eaux-de-vie department.

I wish Renaude de Gironde good luck, and can’t wait to see what expressions he will come up with in the future.

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Blood Oath Pact No. 3 Announced

Luxco’s third release of their limited edition Blood Oath is set to be released in April.  Each year features a different blend.  Pact No. 3 is a blend of two 7-year bourbons and a 12-year bourbon.  One of the 7-year bourbons was finished in cabernet sauvignon casks from Swanson Vineyards in Napa Valley.  

“These carefully selected bourbons come together for a spicy, yet incredibly smooth flavor profile. By finishing some of the bourbon in cabernet sauvignon barrels, I was able to drive more character and depth into the bourbon,” says John Rempe, creator of Blood Oath and Director of Corporate Research and Development at Luxco. “Not only will you taste the spiciness of the rye along with the sweet notes from the wine barrels, but you’ll also taste strong caramel and chocolate overtones, giving it a velvety, well-balanced finish.”

Like previous versions, Blood Oath Pact No. 3 is bottled at 98.6 proof and retails for $99.99.  It is a one-time release of 10,000 bottles.  I enjoyed the first two release.  Read my notes for Pact No. 1and Pact No. 2.

Luxco is currently building a distillery in Bardstown. In fact, their still was installed just last week (as of the writing of this post). In the meantime, they continue to source their whiskies and are doing a fine job at picking barrels and blending whiskies.

Sneak Peek of the Sazerac House

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Earlier today, Sazerac Company offered members of the press a preview of the Sazerac House museum.  The Sazerac House is destined to be an important visitor attraction and museum in this giant cocktail city of New Orleans.  The history of the sazerac cocktail will play a large part at the museum, but expect to see other New Orleans cocktails featured. The role of New Orleans in the history of bourbon will also be a key part.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, Sazerac Chairman Bill Goldring and Sazerac CEO Mark Brown were in attendance.

Right to left: Jeffrey Goldring, Bill Goldring, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and Mark Brown break the ground, so to speak

Right to left: Jeffrey Goldring, Bill Goldring, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, and Mark Brown break the ground, so to speak

“We’ve long believed that New Orleans really is the birthplace of the cocktail,” said Brown.  “There would be those that would dispute it.  Fair enough, but I think we have a pretty good claim.  This is going to augment all of the hard work that Ann Tuennerman has been doing with Tales of the Cocktail, which by any standards has been remarkable.”

After a few words from everyone, Brown mentioned the company is burying a time capsule.  Inside is a bottle of Sazerac Rye, Peychaud’s bitters, a rocks glass, and a recipe for the cocktail.

A time capsule will be buried in the museum.

Sazerac Company is based here in New Orleans, though most of the action takes place at their award-winning Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, KY.  The company’s roots can be traced to the Sazerac Coffee House in the French Quarter back in the 1800s.  It is said that is where the sazerac cocktail was invented by Antoine Peychaud.  The Sazerac Company itself formed in 1850.

The location at the intersection of Canal Street and Magazine Street is near where the original Sazerac Coffee House stood, and in a prime tourist location. Sazerac projects 100,000 visitors during its first year. The Sazerac House will create 45 new jobs and is expected to open late 2018.

Brown also said, “New Orleans’ claim to fame with cocktails is definitely going to be cemented with this opportunity.”

And before you whiskey fans ask, I’m told there will be commemerative bottlings available at the museum.