The right blend

Both opulent and indulgent in equal measures, a bottle of Cognac is probably the perfect gift for any spirits connoisseurs in your life. Drinks Industry Ireland takes a look at the most iconic Cognac brands on the market


Cognac is a type of brandy, produced by twice distilling wine made from grapes grown in any of the designated growing regions of France. Only about 2% of global Cognac production is consumed in its home market of France. The rest is exported to 160 countries around the world, with it being particularly popular in the Chinese market.

The use of the name Cognac is protected under French law. It is AOC, Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, and there are three main requirements to satisfy: it must be made with specific grape varieties, it must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and finally, it must be aged in oak barrels for at least two years.

Traditionally thought of as a stuffy drink, Cognac would have been considered a drink for older men but the rise in cocktail culture has changed this immeasurably. Bartenders are now using Cognac in a host of popular drinks like an Old Fashioned and a Side Car cocktail.

Despite the impact of the Covid-19 on global spirits sales, the Cognac sector is preparing for an economic recovery with a gradual recovery in the coming months, according to by the IWSR. Hennessy was the leading brand of Cognac in the world in 2022 at 7.9 million cases sold.

A keeper of tradition

Could Richard Hennessy and his eldest son James possibly have imagined at the end of the eighteenth century that, one day, their Cognac would have travelled the world over, ignoring borders and challenging traditions? A keeper of tradition and an honourer of heritage, Hennessy is the undisputed drink of choice for crafting the perfect cocktail and basking in the good times this Christmas season.

The classic Hennessy VS Gift Box (RSP €41) is the perfect gift for the Cognac lover in your life. Hennessy Very Special is an intense and lively Cognac with an appearance of a golden hue typical of the V.S style. Full bodied and packed with lively citrus, apple and fresh grape flavours, the aroma is intense and fruity, with notes of oak and grilled almonds.

V.S.O.P is the first Hennessy blend that was created more than 200 years ago when in 1817, Hennessy received a special order to create a specific blend for the future King of England, George IV. Today, for the first time, the Hennessy V.S.O.P Gift Box (RSP €71) comes with a new design but the same timeless blend – flamboyant mahogany in colour and flavours of juicy fruits, spices, vanilla and mild tobacco. The gift box, a new eye-catching bold colour inspired by passion and vibrancy with gold and embossed details for a luxurious finish. The bottle comes with a wooden stopper, an elegant natural material to preserve the precious liquid and pay tribute to Hennessy’s craftsmanship, while a new distinctive engraved shield is stylish and modern and pays homage to Hennessy’s history.

Hennessy X.O (RSP €202) remains the original, the emblematic icon of the Hennessy Maison. Deep and powerful, the eaux-de-vie of this Hennessy X.O Cognac are aged in young barrels and marked out by their  power and energy, but also by their capacity to achieve a great roundness through time. With a deep and intense amber with glimpses of mahogany, X.O is notably darker than the rest of the collection and has a powerful, albeit soft, tonality, with hints of cocoa and a warm, fruity presence, followed by a tremendous length.

For something extra special, why not share the gift that is the Hennessy X.O X Kim Jones Limited Edition Bottle & Decanter (RSP €200). The prolific creative director and fashion designer joins forces with Hennessy to launch a 2023 limited edition that celebrates the greatness of X.O. It is the first time Hennessy has collaborated with a fashion designer and the collaboration takes inspiration from the rich heritage of Hennessy X.O. while recognising the brand’s undeniable impact on pop culture through artistic partnerships and Jones’ own mark on the fashion industry. Encased in an aluminium second skin, the Hennessy X.O Limited Edition stays true to the iconic shape of Hennessy X.O while evoking a couture silhouette.

Hennessy is available nationwide through grocers and independent off-licences. The Hennessy X.O X Kim Jones Limited Edition is available exclusively from O’Briens since early November. Hennessy is perfect to enjoy neat, over ice or in the incomparable Hennessy Holiday Cocktails.

The Hennessy Ginger Cocktail

Hennessy and Ginger is the right drink for any time of the day or evening. The spice of the ginger ale brings out the natural spice of Hennessy V.S.


40 ml Hennessy Very Special

40 ml Hennessy Very Special

100 ml Ginger Ale


  • Pour the Hennessy Cognac into a balloon glass.
  • Add ice cubes to fill the glass.
  • Top with ginger ale.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge or slices of fresh ginger.

Hennessy V.S.O.P Old Fashioned Cocktail

Created in Louisville, Kentucky in 1881, the Old-Fashioned found its spiritual home at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel bar in New York City. Cognac, warm and aromatically spiced, a dash of bitters

and sweet syrup all blend perfectly to make up this legendary cocktail.


50 ml Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilege

15 ml Simple Syrup

2 Angostura bitter dashes

1 orange zest


  • Drop bitters into an Old-Fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.
  • Add a splash of water and the syrup.
  • Pour in the Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilege slowly.
  • Garnish with a twist of orange.

Hennessy X.O Over Ice

Ice makes the greatness of Hennessy X.O a never-ending discovery. When ice greets Hennessy X.O, it sets in motion a sensory odyssey. Fingers feel the warm glass cool, ears hear a gentle clinking, eyes witness the amber-coloured Cognac lighten, palates discover an ever-evolving tastes cape. Discover new experiences, new sensations and new occasions through three main drinks: On 3 rocks, On a rock, Over Ice.

An exceptional spirit

Rémy Martin VSOP is composed of eaux-de-vie coming exclusively from the highest-quality vineyards of Cognac, the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne

BArSince 1724, the House of Rémy Martin has produced exceptional spirits that consistently appeal to the world’s most discerning connoisseurs. A profound love of the land, a continuity of family ownership and a passionate commitment to excellence have sustained Rémy Martin for nearly three centuries. As a result of its masterful production and generations of tradition in Cognac, today, Rémy Martin produces Cognacs Fine Champagne, including Rémy Martin XO, Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal and Rémy Martin V.S.O.

Rémy Martin VSOP is composed of eaux-de-vie coming exclusively from the highest-quality vineyards of Cognac, the Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne. Such eaux-de-vie offer an exceptional ageing potential and are known as Cognac Fine Champagne.

In 1927, Rémy Martin’s cellar master André Renaud created the very first VSOP Fine Champagne—a truly visionary and audacious decision. This prestigious appellation would be officially recognised 11 years later as an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée – a specific growing area protected by French law).

Accounting for one in three bottles of VSOP consumed worldwide, Remy Martin is the benchmark for the VSOP category and is blended from spirits aged from 4 to 12 years. This latest version finishes the Cognac in old barrels for a year before bottling. Rémy Martin VSOP embodies the perfect harmony of powerful and elegant aromas. It is the symbol of the Cellar Master’s art of blending. Rémy Martin VSOP is extremely versatile, so you may enjoy it neat, on the rocks, or in cocktails. We recommend drinking Rémy Martin VSOP with ginger ale or as Remy Grand Tonic made by mixing Remy Martin VSOP over ice, topped with tonic and finished with a wedge of fresh lemon. Remy Martin is proudly distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

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