It’s a new year and Brown at the Bar is back like cooked crack. If you know what that means, you know what that means. It’s been a minute so I’m treating you guys to a very special liquor review to start things off. Today we have the highly touted and rather expensive Hennessy The Original XO. Retailing at $179.99 in my neck of the woods, it’s the most expensive bottle I’ve ever bought and triple the price of the more common Hennessy VSOP, VS, and Remy Martins of the same line. Now, I know that Hennessy has been getting a bad wrap from the everyday drinker as of late. Like most things, when they get too popular the crowd turns on it. Also like most other alcohol, the general public is not drinking these spirits the way they’re meant to be enjoyed. All that being said, is Hennessy XO worth nearly $200? Let’s find out.
First of all, this Hennessy comes in a box. A pretty one at that. Points are awarded to every liquor that comes in a fancy box, always. The bottle is nothing super beautiful but the grapevine detailings are kind of cool, I must admit. You don’t drink bottle and boxes though so enough of that. Let’s talk taste.
Off rip, the nose on this cognac is a good indicator you’re in for something special. Imagine the smell of dark fruits and chocolate blended together without even the slightest hint of the presence of alcohol. There’s a bit of honey scent lurking in the bottle as well alongside the expected floral aromas found in many cognacs.
On first sip, Hennessy XO delivers everything advertised by its nose. You can taste a powerful but smooth fruit flavor, similar to figs, take over your palate. Lingering in the background is that dark chocolate flavor that really takes this cognac over the top. There’s no heat (or burn) whatsoever, even when holding the liquor in your mouth to really get a feel for the flavors.
Arguably the best part of the tasting is the finish. XO rolls down like velvet. It’s incredibly smooth and has a honey, caramel, and vanilla type aftertaste to it. It’s the type of liquor you want to taste again just to be sure you didn’t miss anything. For someone that hasn’t been exposed to super premium spirits, this is a perspective shattering experience. Hennessy XO raises the bar well beyond what you’ve had in the past. Is it worth $200, I’d say yes. It’s definitely something you would bring out for special occasions. It’s to be enjoyed neat. To mix it with anything would be outright disrespectful.
So, hopefully I’ve made the case for you to up your drink game in 2019. If not on the regular, at least treat yourself to something better on occasion. Cognac is (in my opinion) the classiest of spirits and the XO’s give off these silky, mink fur old school player vibes. Think Ari Lennox meets Anderson .Paak meets Con Funk Shun with a little bit of Sade. Other comparable XO cognacs are Remy XO which retails for $159.99 and the very intriguing Dusse XO which sits at a hefty $229.99. As always, happy drinking.