Hennessy XO Extra Old Cognac



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70 /100

Oh Hennessy XO. Did you notice the absence of reviews for this product on a Cognac exclusive website? Do you know why? Because seasoned Cognac drinkers know there are better places to spend your money. Now if someone gifted me a bottle I would enjoy it. If they handed me a glass I would drink it, but I will not spend hard earned coin for this "charlatan." By that I mean Hennessy hides behind legal Cognac additives and alchemy to present a product for the masses. Consistent. Yes. Interesting. No. Ever hear music that is "over produced." This is Cognac over worked. By the time you get into anything from Hennessy that is true in nature you are dropping serious money. I will find my money better spent on some of the lesser known Cognac Houses who actually have something with a point of view to offer. OK. I am done with my rant...almost. Is this rounded and smooth? To the point that it is lifeless and dead. Dark with caramel color. Sweet with added sugar. Dark plumb fruit. Enriched with Oak from Boise. Not at this price. You will find my score below the "recommended" mark. "Acceptable" is the best I can do. Hennessy has the potential to make great products. XO class and below are not among them.


Wood 8/10

Spice 8/10

Fruit 8/10

Flower 3/10

Bottle / Package Design 5/5

Where is the Love? Ordinary Nice Beautiful A sight to be seen!

Value for Money 1/5

Overpriced Low Average Bargain Steal



What aromas do you get when you sniff the Cognac? Do you get hints of fruits or flowers - perhaps it's sweet? Is it intense or rather flat - and most importantly, is the nose coherent to taste and finish? The nose is the most important part when tasting Cognac.



A small sip: Allow your taste buds in the various areas of your mouth to distinguish the different flavours. This part of cognac tasting is described as ‘the palate’. Don’t just swallow it down; allow the liquid to touch all the regions of the mouth. Doing this is necessary as the taste buds pick up contrasting flavours in the different areas of the mouth; on the tip of your tongue to the sides, for example. Take a tiny sip to prep your palate for the sensory experience to come. Take a second larger sip, and gently roll the cognac around, etting it come into contact with every corner of your mouth. Focus on the perceived textural sensations. Are the sensations round and rich or fresh and elegant? Is the overall mouthfeel intense, balanced, disjointed, or lacking presence? In short, how does the cognac feel in your mouth?



Quite simply, what do you taste as you gently roll the cognac around in your mouth? Pay close attention to any flavors of fruits, flowers, oak, and spices - or a complex combination of those elements. Are the flavors cohesive with the Nose and the Mouth, giving a sense of balance and complexity?



The ‘finish’ is the experience you get after you’ve swallowed the cognac. What flavours can you detect? Is it a flat or rough finish and rather sharp, or is it a slight 'punch' you like? How long does the finish last? Also think about overall balance: How does the finish compare to nose and taste?


Overall Impression

Consider the Nose, Mouth, Taste, and Finish simultaneously - the cognac as a whole. Is there cohesion between the four categories, or does the cognac shine in some areas and appear dull in others? Quite simply, is the memory from the tasting experience one that will last your lifetime; is the memory good but nothing extraordinary; or is the cognac’s impact entirely forgettable?


Total: 70/100

  • 80-84: Recommended
  • 85-89: Highly Recommended
  • 90-95: Exceptional
  • 96-100: Superlative
Flat Acceptable Fine Excellent Ethereal Thin & weak Disjointed Balanced Exquisite Bland Ordinary Gut Excellent Spectacular Non-existent, or rough Acceptable Gut Memorable Endless Uninspiring, or rough Ordinary Gut Excellent Memorable
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