cognac review

Review: Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 3


Hennessy just released the third entry to their Master Blender’s Selection series.  This one is the first blend from the company’s new Master Blender, Renaud Fillioux de Gironde.  Each blend in this collection is a one-off, using a variety of eaux-de-vie that carry unique notes or ones that don’t quite fit into the flavor profile of Hennessy’s other expressions.

Master Blender’s Selection is bottled at 43%.  This third edition is comprised of 20 eaux-de-vie that are at least seven years old.  They were aged in young barrels and transferred to older barrels for further maturation.

The aromatic nose showcases figs, baking spices, and toasted nuts.  It’s inviting and perfect on an autumn evening.  On the palate, this cognac is both rich and vibrant, featuring hints of dark caramel, pecans, figs, and some spice.  The finish is long and subtly dry, with lingering dried fruit and spice.

Fantastic.  I’m thoroughly impressed and am excited to see what Fillioux de Gironde does next.  The slightly higher ABV help deliver both heavy aromas and flavor notes, as well as the lighter, more delicate ones.  And, it pairs wonderfully with a mild-to-medium bodied cigar.  This unctuous blend from Hennessy comes highly recommended.  It’d be better to buy a bottle sooner than later, because once it’s gone… it’s gone forever.  9/10

Thanks to Hennessy for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Martell VS Single Distillery Cognac Review

Most of the cognacs on the market are blends of different eaux de vie from several distilleries.  That’s especially true of the large producers.  One of those cognac producers, Martell, is doing something differently with its latest release.  Martell VS Single Distillery is just that: a blend of eaux de vie from only one of its distilleries.  Think of it as the cognac equivalent to the single malt scotch whisky.  

The label states that sourcing from only one distillery producs a richer, more intense expression of the Martell house style.  The nose starts with layers of caramel that give way to rich fruit and a touch of lemon zest and vanilla.  The palate offers more concentrated flavors than other VS cognacs I’ve tasted.  Grapes, candied berries, and figs are present alongside hints of cinnamon and oak spice.  That spice ramps up into the medium length finish, which also features dark fruit notes.

Though a young VS blend, Martell’s Single Distillery release provides a wonderfully plesant drinking experience.  It comes across with more exuberance than a standard VS cognac, but lacks the refined complexities found in older blends.  Press materials make mention of using VS Single Distillery in cocktails or long drinks.  I’d agree it’s what this cognac is best suited for.   When it comes to choosing an inexpensive young sipping cognac, I would reach for this one over other VS blends.  Nicely done.  $34.99  8/10

Thanks to Martell for the sample.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.