Winter, fireplace and a fine cognac served in the right glass. Winter is the most appropriate time to try out some of the emblematic HINE cognacs. – Maria Th. Massoura
What is cognac?
All cognacs, are brandies, but not all brandies, are cognacs. This is the definition of this extraordinary distillate. Cognac, is a brandy produced in the Cognac region in France.
It is aged in oak barrels and the distillation must be double and done in copper. Cognacs typically have floral and fruity flavors, with mild alcoholic character and a medium to lightweight body.
1. VS (Very Special) or the appearance of three stars on the glass. This is the youngest cognac and it is aged for at least 2 years in oak barrels. Keep in mind that Cognac is a blend of eau de vie and as in a blended whiskey, we refer to the youngest eau de vie in the blend.
2. VSOP (Very Special Old Pale). A cognac, where the younger brandy has aged for at least 4 years.
3. XO (Extra Old). In this cognac, the younger brandy has aged for at least 10 years.
How to enjoy it
Lovers of cognac enjoy it in a tulip glass and in a balloon glass. The reason for that is that by narrowing the mouth, the cognac’s aromatic bouquet is directed to your nose. But if you do not have these glasses you can choose any other glass. Just make sure that the surface will be wide and as the glass rises up the spout closes for the reason we said above. Neat, with ice or in a cocktail, it’s up to you!
Interesting facts about HINE
- The founder was the young Englishman Thomas Hine from Dorset, who, after spending a while in prison at Château de Jarnac during the French Revolution, married Francoise-Elisabeth. Later, he founded the House of Hine, trying to learn the secrets of making cognac, his father’s favorite drink.
- Now, the 6th generation of the Thomas Hine family has taken over the reins and along with a team of 20 people, they preserve the myth of one of the most emblematic cognacs.
- The character of Hine is determined by two Premier Crus, in an area where there is only 6 Crus: Grande Champagne and Petit Champagne. There, around the village of Bonneuil, 70 hectares of Ugni Blanc – the variety used in Cognac – are planted in limestone soils.
- Hine’s philosophy is that a great cognac is, above all, a great white wine.
THE TASTING NOTES
We had the great opportunity to try four House of Hine cognacs, under the guidance of the Brand Ambassador and Sales Manager of Thomas Hine & Co, Per Even Allaire.
A classic Hine cognac, a blend of about 25 eaux de vie. Aromas of apple, orange, peach make up a strong fruity cognac. In the mouth, it is elegant and easy with the fruit developing in a more mature version, giving thus, a round sweetness.
This special cognac is a blend of over 20 eaux de vie, of Grande Champagne grapes and with an ageing of 15-18 years. This blend includes 4 vintages, called “Early Landed”. Early Landed vintages, one of the elements that makes Hine stand out, have matured in wet British cellars. This cognac pays tribute, hence his name, to Hine’s founder, Thomas Hine. A cognac with a beautiful floral character and a more ripe fruit element such as orange peel and mandarin and honey as well as and hazelnuts deriving from the barrels and moisture in the cellars. The mouthfeel is not so full, and the flower element is what characterizes the finish. This is a wonderful cognac where the contrast of the flower notes and the ripe fruit elements leads to a beautiful youthfulness.
This cognac is a blend of over 40 eau de vie, from grapes of the Grande Champagne region and with the average aging age in barrels reaching 25 years. Fruits such as ripe quince, cooked fig and dried fruits that show the ageing as well as aromas resulting from the long stay in barrels such as vanilla, hazelnut and sweet spices such as carnation blend in beautifully with the light smoky notes. Flavor-wise, this is an elegant distillate, reminiscent of a winter cake that just came out of the oven. The wonderful Antique XO can be enjoyed one evening in front of the fireplace, without ice, perhaps with some aged cheddar cheese or with some high quality chocolate with orange.
Cigar Reserve XO
This cognac’s character is what its name is. This Hine cognac is best enjoyed with a very good cigar. Something that does makes sense when you try it, since this cognac is a combination of exotic aromas, fruit, and sweet spices like cinnamon, a few fresh peppers, wood and smoke. Cigar Reserve is a blend of 20 eau de vie, from Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne and Fins Bois. A cognac created for cigar lovers who are looking for the perfect accompanying drink.
The range of HINE cognac is imported and distributed in Cyprus by Fereos Fourpoint Distribution.