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124-year-old Hennessy Cognac - Printable Version

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- Sheila10 - 10-07-2006 09:52 PM

I have an unopened bottle of Jas Hennessy cognac that was given to my great-grandparents in 1882. My sister thinks we should open the bottle and enjoy the cognac. I disagree because I think it may have turned. Any opinions?


- Thraz - 10-08-2006 07:53 AM

It's possible for cognac to last that long. Well, in theory anyway - I can only wish I knew first hand. If it were me, I would open it and smell it. If it's good, great. If it has turned you should know right away, and then you have two options: seal it back with the cognac still in it (with the original cap and maybe some wax), and you will still have the legacy from your great-grandparents; or pour it down the drain, clean the bottle and buy some good cognac to pour into the old bottle. You can use the old bottle as a vessel for cognac in your home for ever and let the legacy live on. The best case scenario of course: the cognac is still good, you drink it and then use the bottle for new stuff.


- Kcwhippet - 10-08-2006 11:04 AM

For the most part, once spirits are bottled, they don't change as long as the seal is unbroken and the bottle doesn't go through any great environmental extremes. So, if that bottle wasn't stored in the cupboard over the stove all these years or in and out of a freezer, the Cognac itself should be very close to a Hennessy Cognac that was bottled last month. All that said, your sister could well be correct.


- Thraz - 10-08-2006 03:46 PM

Actually, not to nitpick, but an interesting tidbit: if the cognac still tastes like it originally did, then it is unlikely to taste like one that was bottled last month. I once had the opportunity to taste a cognac from 1910 or so. It was still in superb shape; except that it was sweeter than cognac from the same brand you would get today (Hine in this case). It was then explained to me that tastes and customs had evolved over the last century, even in the cognac world, and that cognac in those days would generally have been sweeter.


- Sheila10 - 10-10-2006 09:53 PM

Thank you for your help. I think we'll give it a try on Thanksgiving when we have the family gathered.