Last year Hennessy added a significant Cognac to their range which up until that point consisted of VS (£30ish), VSOP (£40ish), XO (£110ish) , Paradis (£400ish) and then Richard (£2000ish) which left it with a small but significant gap in its range (yeah ok I know there are a lot of gaps in that price range) which was and is being filled by Cognac’s such as Remy Martin’s Louis XIII, Courvoisier’s L’Essence de Cognac and Hine’s Mariage de Thomas Hine.
Their new introduction was called Paradis Imperial – the Paradis from their less expensive cognac (and the name of the reserves) and Imperial because it is named after (and apparently attempts to recreate) Cognac that was ordered by the Imperial family of Russia for Tsar Alexander I in 1818.
It’s a blend of cognac from the 19th and 20th centuries with the oldest elements coming from barrels laid down 150 years ago.
On the nose you are immediately swept up with the richness and the complexity, notes of apples and caramel. Toffee and cinnamon. In the mouth it is powerful, but subtle with huge amounts of nuance. The spirit is soft and gentle not at all harsh – it really is exceptional stuff. It’s ever so long too. Is it better than Louis XIII? I wouldn’t say better – I’d say different. It’s lighter on its feet than the Remy which is heavier and richer and more brooding. There is more at the top end here though, greater finish and some lighter citrus and fruit notes. All in all I can’t pick a winner – superb. 96/100