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Jas Hennessy & Co., or more simply Hennessy, is a prominent Irish-French winery and co-leader of the prestigious luxury goods company, LVMH. Hennessy specializes in the manufacture of cognac. Today, the company of Jas Hennessy & Co. sells about 50 million bottles a year worldwide, or more than 40 percent of the world’s Cognac. It contains 40% alcohol.


Beginnings and 19th century

Irishmarker aristocrat Richard Hennessy established an eaux-de-vie trading business in Cognac, Francemarker, in 1765. The land on which the business was created was given to Hennessy as compensation for service as a mercenary for King Louis XV. In 1794, the company began its deliveries of Hennessy Cognac to the newly independent United Statesmarker. Hennessy later introduced Jean Fillioux as its first Master Blender in 1800. In 1813 the trademark "Jas Hennessy & Co." was adopted. Hennessy grew more popular among the aristocracy, and in 1817 GeorgeIV ordered a Hennessy V.S.O.P. (an excellent pale cognac eaux-de-vie). By 1840, after the creation of the Hennessy agency in Londonmarker, export sales made up 90% of profits. The first labels with the name of Jas Hennessy & C° and the 'Bras Armé' were presented in 1856. And in 1864, a bottling plant was opened and the Hennessy trademarks were registered. A system for classifying cognacs was created by Maurice Hennessy in 1865. Not until 1868 did Hennessy expand internationally, delivering that year to Japanmarker Hennessy cognac. The X.O. appellation (which has since become a worldwide reference for cognacs), was created by Maurice Hennessy. Hennessy delivered X.O. to Shanghai, China in 1872. According to its own corporate history, by the end of the 19th century, Jas Hennessy & Co. became the world market leader of eaux-de-vie in1890.

20th century onwards

In 1905 the company marketed with the phrase, "Hennessy, the name which made Cognac famous." In 1930 the company began to use the slogan, "The World's largest stock of eaux-de-vie." After joining Hennessy, Gerald de Geoffre de Chabrignac designed the new X.O. flacon. The company broke the shipping record of 12 million bottles in 1967. In 1971 Jas Hennessy & Co. merged with the champagne producer Moët & Chandon, resulting in the luxury wine Moët-Hennessy group. Hennessy broke the shipping record of 24 million bottles a year. The company underwent a further merger with the French fashion house Louis Vuitton in 1987, founding Moët-Hennessy • Louis Vuitton. In 1992, for the 120th anniversary of the first shipment of X.O. cognac to Asia, a clipper christened "Spirit of Hennessy" was chartered by Hennessy. In the town of Cognacmarker, the "Quais Hennessy," was created by the French Architect Jean-Michel Vilmotte. By 2001, Hennessy had broken the record of 35 million bottles sold worldwide.


Recent innovations include trying to broaden the appeal of the drink beyond its traditional base of older drinkers, by introducing new products such as "Pure White," "Hennessy Black" and "Fine de Cognac" and marketing them accordingly.

In 2009, a limited edition bottle of Hennessy VS was released in honor of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America. The bottle featured a black label with gold lettering. Also, the circle seal towards the base of the neck featured a large 44, the phrase "In Honor of the 44th President" and the date of Mr. Obama's inauguration. A percentage of the proceeds made from the sales of the limited edition bottles will go towards the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is known to have a penchant for Hennessy, reportedly being their number one customer over the past ten years.


Hennessy Very Special
  • Hennessy Black is currently in limited release.
  • Hennessy White
  • Hennessy V.S
  • Privilegé V.S.O.P
  • Fine de Cognac
  • Hennessy X.O
  • Deutschland Moet Hennessy
  • Pure White
  • Private Reserve
  • Hennessy Paradis
  • Hennessy Diptyque
  • Richard Hennessy
  • Timeless: (only 2000 bottles produced)
  • Ellipse: (only 100 bottles produced)
  • Beauté du Siècle (only 100 bottles produced, comes in chest)

Hennessy in popular culture

Hennessy has made many appearances in popular culture. The brand is popular among musicians, and has been mentioned in rap lyrics, particularly from those of 2Pac, Kanye West, Nas, Dr. Dre, The Game , Ghostface Killah, Xzibit,Digital Underground, Tech N9ne, The Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, Nate Dogg, Kid Cudi, 50 Cent, Afroman, Obie Trice, Mobb Deep, E-40, MC Joey-B (aka Joe Buckley), Lil KNYPP, R.Kelly, Jamie Foxx, Ludacris, Lupe Fiasco, Das EFX, and AZ and by pop artist Duncan Sheik in the song "White Limousine" and Ciara on the track 'I Don't Remember' from her album Fantasy Ride. Deceased San Francisco Bay Areamarker rap artist Mac Dre rapped coined the nickname "Heem" for Hennessy and glorified the brand in his song, "Bleezies N Heem". The brand has also been featured in cinema, such as the 1971 Bruce Lee film The Big Boss. Hennessy had a brief on-screen appearance in the 1993 Schindler's List, where it was accurately portrayed as a luxury good available on the black market in Germany during WWII - Oscar Schindler is shown to be using multiple luxury goods to bribe Nazi officials into signing war production contracts with his factory. Hennessy has also been mentioned by Katt Williams during on his stand-up DVD, It's Pimpin' Pimpin'. Hennessy is also the title of a song from 2pac's posthumous album "Loyal to the Game", an ode to the drink featuring Obie Trice and produced by Eminem.


  1. Hein, Kenneth. "Cognac is in the house." Brandweek. September 22, 2003 [1]
  2. Blitzer, Wolf. "North Korean leader loves Hennessey, Bond movies",, January 8, 2003. Accessed July 9, 2007.
  3. MacLean, Natalie. "Bring on the bling -- rappers give Cristal and Hennessy street cred." San Francisco Chronicle. December 16, 2004 [2]

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