The Irish-born Richard Hennessy was a true gentleman, filled with zest, who would entertain his close friends at his own home almost every night. In 1765, he created a magical Cognac for his own personal fulfillment and for the benefit of his guests, not having the faintest idea that his brand would become a legend in the industry and to bon vivants the world over.
And so it came about that the Hennessy Cognac distillery became the largest producer of the liquor in the world. Today, Maurice Hennessy leads the reputed company as its global ambassador and is the eighth generation of the Hennessy family, representing a staggering 251 years of history. As well as leading the brand, Maurice is also down to earth—literally: he has his own vineyards in France, which he regularly tends.
Recalling the early days of the brand, Maurice tells Indonesia Tatler: “At the time, in the 1700s, Richard used to entertain people who were wealthy and who enjoyed drinking. These days, this is what you’d call marketing and good PR, but at the time, it was sheer luck,” he says.
“Frankly, he didn’t do it to create a Hennessy line—he did it purely because he enjoyed entertaining his friends and guests.”
A great Cognac can be identified through its balance, elegance and aftertaste, and although Maurice is involved in the production of one of the main ingredients of the Cognac at his vineyard, he tells us that the master blenders and committee now supervise the making of the Hennessy libations.
“Hennessy is the only brand which has had the same family of master blenders for approximately the last 200 years,” he says with pride.
Having travelled all over the world to represent the brand and having met a variety of people who perceive Hennessy differently, Maurice goes on to tell us that there is a significant difference between the way Europeans and Asians enjoy their Cognac.
“Asians have no problem drinking their cognac neat, with ice, or as a cocktail and mostly during a meal, whereas with Europeans, they enjoy their Cognac as a cocktail after a meal. It would be a very rare occasion to see a European drinking cognac with a meal,” he explains.
Maurice Hennessy is a passionate drinker of his own brand and enjoys his Cognac neat or on the rocks. The latest creation from the Hennessy family, the Hennessy Gold, is a limited edition product styled by storied designer Tom Dixon, who has carefully crafted some of the brand’s most exquisite carafes, that bottles the Hennessy X.O.
(Text by Maina A. Harjani)