Cognac

Review: Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 3

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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

Hennessy.com

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

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Review: Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente

Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Gran Reserva Presidente celebrates the 50th anniversary of the TAA, the Tobacconist Association of America, with this exclusive release. Made of Nicaraguan tobacco aged 5 years, this 6 3/4 x 50 pressed cigar is an extension of the Antaño Gran Reserva brand.

This stick is full of wood spice and leather, with very slight hints of candied fruit. It’s a wonderfully balanced cigar that leads to a satisfying, hour-long smoke. Full bodied but not overpowering. I decided to pair it with Hennessy XO and I never looked back. The cognac’s big caramel and fruity palate complemented the cigar’s wood beautifully and brought out more of those leather notes.

This cigar is available to TAA members at $12.50 per stick and available in three other sizes: Robusto Grande Box-Pressed (5 1/2 x 52), Belicoso (6 x 54), and Gran Consul (4 3/4 x60).

Thanks to Joya de Nicaragua for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are are my own.

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Hennessy Master Blender’s Selection No. 1 Cognac Review

I thought it would be a great idea to follow up a review of the 2017 release with a look at the first one.  Released in 2016, Hennessy’s Master Blender’s Selection No.1 was the initial release on the new experimental line. Each year’s blend is designed to only be made once, so once it is gone, it’s gone for good.  Former Master Blender Yann Fillioux crafted this blend from 80 to 100 eaux-de-vie aged in both young and old French oak casks.  He had the freedom to create a cognac without worrying about availability of stocks necessary for a continuous mass market product.  This means Fillioux could work with low volume stocks of eaux-de-vie if he so desired.  No limits except for his imagination.

The aromatic nose features hints of vanilla, toffee, orange peel and floral top notes.  Taste-wise, the cognac is both bold and elegant, with toffee, sweet fruits, oak spice and a slight nuttiness.  At a “cask strength” of 43% abv, this blend delivers a rather rich tasting experience.  The finish leaves notes of sweet fruits and some oak spice.

Having tasted both blends in this US-exclusive line from Hennessy, I quite enjoyed what they’re doing.  It’s a thrill to taste what skilled blenders can create when unrestrained.  This is a one-time blend worthy of your attention, much like the 2017 release.  Nicely done.  8/10

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