Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Hennessy Paradis ★

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type:

Hennessy Paradis


Cognac, France  
25 - 130 years
Best served:
Pure harmony of flavours 
In a nutshell:
The culinary genius of the French is reflected in this fine cognac, which expresses pure harmony in its fusion of sweet, bitter, sour, salty and savoury
The "x-factor" and magic 
$650-$900 (Aus) $750-$1000 (US), £525 (UK)

After a Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting in Melbourne I stumbled into the Langham Hotel on Southbank, with the intention of taking in its magnificent opulence while waiting for my lift (a wise decision after any SMWS tasting!). At the top of the stairs I saw a bar and upon reviewing the drinks list I spotted the Hennessy Paradis for a wonderful price. I plonked myself on a bar stool and ordered a glass of Hennessy Paradis, not knowing that what awaited was a short time in paradise (for any spirit lover, that is!).

The Hennessy website explains that the Paradis is the 'fruit of successive blends that combine more than a hundred eaux-de-vie aged for between 25 and 130 years'. Suddenly this cognac becomes seductively attractive, doesn't it? What a pleasure it is to be able to taste such a fine blend that contains 130 year old cognac; a rare opportunity I savoured until its last drop.

The magic that unfurls as this cognac rests on the palate is beyond words, and in my view no review can do it justice... but I will try. This cognac is best described as one that delivers pure harmony, a symphony of flavours in almost perfect synchronization that merge as one whole to be delivered with the texture of pure velvet. The inetsnity is near perfection, neither too powerful nor too weak. The balance between sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savoury, likewise, is perfection because there are no noticeable ripples in the silky smooth delivery. This cognac lets a spirit lover savour a moment in paradise, if even for a short while.


Like the sun on on a spring morning, a gentle warmth fills the glass with the aroma of flowers and mixed berries. The fragrance of oak is not directly noticeable, but the oak influence plays its part as spiced chocolate and ground coffee develop with surges of sweet coffee drops and aromatic lavender and herbal tea. The ground coffee develops into the cream of a well made expresso, and then alters its form without warning into an abundance of cafe aromas; shortbread, cream and cappuccino with hints of fruit jam and some spicy licorice and star anise.

The floral aroma on the nose is magical, with the faint fragrance of jasmine bringing a sweet calmness that mingles with a bouquet of pollen rich flowery perfume.

The velvety texture is also evident on the nose, almost like smelling a soft light cream and being able to detect its density.


The seductive aroma on the nose transfers almost seamlessly to the palate, with the velvety texture sliding along it with silky smoothness. Pure harmony is the only way to describe the taste of this cognac, with the near perfect fusion of sweet, bitter, sour, salty and savoury. Nothing stands out, and that is a great sign of a spirit that nears perfection! With a balance nearing perfection, this cognac offers a density and buttery creaminess that brings notes of truffle oil and sweet preserved fruit and an array of spices with noticeable age and the moderating force of oak; a force that has enriched the spirit which is energetic and vibrant while at the same time being mellow and mature; a perfect example of blending at its finest.

This cognac must be tasted to be fully appreciated. Its flavours dance on the tongue with varying degrees of intensity and subtle nuances that are so complex and detailed that it is not possible to describe them all.


The finish is beautiful, as the flavours tingle on the tongue and continue their dance without putting a wrong foot forward. As the flavours begin to die and the magical spring sun begins to recede into the night, a luscious buttery creaminess coats the tongue as the mouth and jawline radiate with a pulsating glow of paradise.

The exciting thing is that there are so many more cognacs to try.

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