Richard Hennessy expression is the company’s utmost, combining as many as 100 examples of its best wares gathered from throughout its history. Of the hundreds of thousands of casks that Hennessy stores at any one time, only 12, called tierçons, are dedicated to Richard Hennessy in a year. Now the Cognac has a new look, released this week, but even as the new Baccarat crystal decanter looks to the future, its rakish design seems to present a portrait of its past, its namesake and company founder from the 18th century.
Richard Hennessy was a 19-year-old Irish fortune hunter who traveled to France to fight for Louis XV in the War of Austrian Succession. The well-turned-out officer (his portrait shows him in a red tail coat and a tri-corner hat with a bow) stayed on and was wounded two decades later. He convalesced in Charente, the department where Cognac is made, and began to deal in it, founding the company Hennessy in 1765. His son would go on to export it throughout the globe. Today, it is the world’s largest Cognac house.