During a recent visit to the Philippines, eighth-generation Hennessy descendant Maurice Hennessy led a tasting of Hennessy Paradis Imperial at a dinner organized by Moet Hennessy Asia Pacific at Top of the Citi by Chef Jessie. Created by seventh generation master blender Yann Fillioux, Hennessy Paradis Imperial is inspired by a rare and unique cognac blend that Maria—the Dowager Empress of Russia—requested from the Hennessy family in 1818 to celebrate the birthday of her son, Tsar Alexander I.

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During the Hennessy Paradis Imperial Dinner

The exquisite blend is made from the most delicate aged 19th and 20th century eaux-de-vie selected at the peak of their elegance from Hennessy’s 400,000-barrel stock of cognac. The crystal decanter with a 18-carat gold- and silver-plated collar was designed by award-winning French Baccarat designer Stephanie Balini. Each bottle is individually numbered, and there was even on-the-spot engraving for guests who purchased bottles of Paradis Imperial (retail price: approximately P80,000) during the dinner.

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Hennessy Paradis Imperial boast of flavors only achieved with its utmost rarity

During the tasting, Hennessy first invited guests to observe the cognac’s pale gold color: “Although this cognac is over 100 years old, the youngest are over 30 years old. The cognac is very light in color because it is stored in very old barrels. When the barrel is old it gives less tannins, less bitterness of the wood, less woodenness, which could hide the quality of the cognac itself.” For the nose, there was jasmine, a hint of orange blossoms, and a bit of freshly cut grass. “By drinking it, you will have the rare impression of drinking exactly what you are smelling, but with a very long finish,” concluded Hennessy.

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The 8th generation of the family that heralds the Hennessy empire, Maurice-Richard Hennessy

To bring out the floral and slightly smoky notes of the Paradis Imperial, Chef Jessie prepared an elegant four-course meal of steam-cooked blue lobster with an infusion of dried fruits, goose breast lacquered in spiced honey with parsnip puree, fillet of turbot steam-cooked with baby spinach, and vanilla cream mille feuille accompanied with a glass of almond milk.

Steam-cooked blue lobster with an infusion of dried fruits
Steam-cooked blue lobster with an infusion of dried fruits
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Goose breast lacquered in spiced honey with parsnip puree
Fillet of turbot steam-cooked with baby spinach
Fillet of turbot steam-cooked with baby spinach
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Vanilla cream mille feuille accompanied with a glass of almond milk
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Hennessy Paradis Imperial

Hennessy highlighted the crucial role of the taster in the creation of the rare blend: “If somebody must disappear, it’s a Hennessy (family member) before the taster—the taster is more important.” A taster at Hennessy samples about 10,000 glasses of cognac per year. Out of these 10,000, there are about 10 outstanding cognacs that are kept separately and used to make the Paradis Imperial. “The Paradis Imperial cognac is made of these precisely selected cognacs chosen for their elegance,” explained Hennessy. “So you will have in your glass the most incredible blend of various cognacs.”

 

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