We finally had the opportunity to taste the “Black Henny”.  And no, the Cognac itself is not black (it’s just the bottle).

This was Hennessy’s first major new product on a large scale (launched in 2009). And as Hennessy perfectly understood the relevance of the American market, they called the bottle ‘Black’.  It was back in 1961 when Hennessy VS was introduced to the market.

Hennessy Black Cognac Review and Price

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So, a little more about the product.

First of all: Hennessy Black is Cognac to mix.  This Cognac is not a brandy you drink straight, but good for combining with mixers and to be used in cocktails.  In other words, Hennessy Black is a premium spirit specifically created for mixing.   Find out more about How to Drink Cognac.

The Black Cognac has a rather fruity & young character, and comes in a bold, black 750 ml glass bottle.

Hennessy Black

These are our personal tasting notes:

The eye: Pale gold
On the nose: Easy and fresh, some orange aromas
The taste: Some slight sweet honey, grapes with a touch of citrus, a hint of jasmine and floral hints
Finish: While the beginning of the palate is relatively smooth for such a young Cognac, it evolves into a more masculine taste
Blend: We’re informed that it’s created from a blend of 45 different eaux-de-vie

Age: We found a quote saying ‘aged in barrels used by Hennessy for at least five years’, which does not mean that the Hennessy Black Cognac is 5 years old.  What it actually means is that the eaux-de-vie is aged in oak barrels that are at least 5 years old.   A little misleading, huh?

So, we assume it’s a VS Cognac: That means it’s a blend of Cognacs that are at least two and a half years old, matured in oak casks.   That’s not a lot – it’s the youngest a Cognac can be.  It’s youth makes for a fruity, somewhat rough Cognac – exactly as one would expect from a VS quality.

This doesn’t make it a bad Cognac.  On the contrary, it’s a good Cognac to mix with other ingredients.  You don’t really want to mix a XO or older Cognac with Coca Cola or 7Up because it would be really a shame to dilute the flavors and taste experience of an expensive Cognac.  In addition, using a higher quality Cognac would give less “Cognac taste”.  This is because older Cognacs are much rounder and smooth. But in cocktails or a long drink,  you want the hints of the spirit to shine through.  This is what makes Hennessy Black so good to be enjoyed combined with a mixer.

The Price of Hennessy Black Cognac is 78 euros in our online shop

Hennessy Black Cognac

If you are interested in what mixes well with Hennessy Black, see here.

‘Done different’?   The marketing, that is…

Hennessy, the biggest Cognac seller in the world, launched this Cognac in a very unique way:

1. It’s supposed to be mixed
2. It’s targeting urban, African American consumers in the USA
3. The product is supposed to be associated with club, nightlife, dance, and music.
4. It’s more expensive than other comparable Cognacs

Hennessy has a unique marketing strategy in place.  It brings together music, events, and the “Cognac-cocktail-trend”.  For example, there were several ‘Hennessy Black Launch’ parties, DJ Mixmasters, and dance parties. Hennessy Black also created a digital nightclub, “Hennessy Black Dance Floor”, on their website created specifically for the purpose; hennessyblack.com…

Here you get a virtual dance floor, and users can upload their crazy dance moves to the platform, add music, and effects, and share it with others.

Mark Cornell explains (CEO Moet Hennessy USA):

“Hennessy Black has been artfully blended to create a spirit that fits into the world of social and high-energy drinking occasions, while still remaining true to the quality and trust of the Hennessy brand heritage. It’s a perfect choice for the young, trendsetting consumer.  It is truly ‘Done Different,’ elevating cognac to a fun yet sophisticated drinking experience.”

We quite like the, ‘Done Different?’ spin.  But it doesn’t refer to the actual production of the Cognac – because that’s rather basic and standard.  As far as we can tell, it’s more the marketing and positioning of the product.

There are several ways to drink the ‘Black Hen’:

  • HENNESSY BLACK Ice:  lemon juice and simple sugar
  • HENNESSY BLACK Bull: coffee liqueur and Coke
  • HENNESSY BLACK Spice:  ginger,  syrup, lemon juice
  • HENNESSY BLACK Royale: Champagne, lemon juice and syrup

Or simply drink it your way…

At the beginning (2009) there were about 10 states where the launch was tested.  Today Hennessy Black is available everywhere in the US – although to be honest, you might have trouble finding it in your local liquor store.

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We know from experience that it can be difficult to find certain Cognacs.  To make life easier, simply subscribe to our bottle alert, and discover straight away once we have it in stock.  And that’s not just Hennessy Black, it holds true for every single Cognac out there.

 Sources: Hennessy USA, marketing-professionnel.fr, www.adweek.com

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Max is a spirits expert and speaker, into marketing, technology, startups, and business development. He’s also a farmer. He likes tools and machines, Game of Thrones, and Better Call Saul. Included in his Top 10 Cognacs are the Audry XO and Bache Gabrielsen 1973. Max founded Cognac Expert in 2010 at his family’s estate in Poullignac, in the Cognac region, France. Started as a blog, today Cognac Expert is the world’s largest website about all things Cognac, a blog, and a specialized online shop featuring 800+ different Cognac bottles.


  1. Avatar

    I enjoy drinking Black with my family. Its perfect for a night out on the town or a card/domino game at home.

  2. Avatar
    freddy franchi

    Really! What about hennessy white? when it has been launched? Check your data, please.
    The only difference between white and black is the amount of sugar and caramel added! look of the size of the word Cognac compare to “black” and then “hennessy”. Micro producers put forward the word Cognac and in most cases the growth Bon Bois; Fins Bois; Borderies: Petite Champagne; Grande Champagne.
    Don’t be full hearted, it is another crap from hennessy!

  3. Avatar

    Thanks Freddy
    absolutely true: The Hennessy White was also a new product. we actually meant a major roll-out in the US market. It’s corrected.

  4. Avatar


    Does Hennessy Black is really a good Cognac?
    For french taster, the answer is indubtably no!

    Have you ever taste it? Hennessy black taste as a bad water of live: “trop secondé” in French.

    If you want to buy a Hennesy Black bottle, you will buy only a brand product but not a cognac of quality.
    Do you want a good cognac? So, buy a old single estate but not a product from the huge industry.

    Enjoy Marketing value!


  5. Avatar
    Ole Cigar

    “Apparently a blend of 45 different eaux-de-vie”

    What about skipping 44 of the 45 and give us the best eaux-de-vie?
    Alternatively, maybe a mix of 100 industrial eaux-de-vies would be the ultimate marketing THING…

    Cognac must be the only area where it is possible to find excellent products at 1/5 of the price of the Hennesy Timeless, Remy Martin Louis XIII, etc.

  6. Avatar

    Yes, it’s a mixable cognac, but, it is at it’s best when it’s chilled and straight. Much like it’s predecessor.

  7. Avatar
    Ole Cigar

    “it is at it’s best when it’s chilled and straight. Much like it’s predecessor.”

    In other words, cooling it down to a level where the real taste doesn’t come forward, the cognac is drinkable…

  8. Avatar

    Isn’t Hennessy Black just a correction of their disastrous strategy around Pure White ???
    In the noughties, Hennessy targeted Black, African-American consumers with a product named Pure White !!
    Anyone could have told them that the Black African-American consumer would be put off by such a name.
    So now they’re back, in the 2010s with a new product with a more pragmatic name for the target Hennessy Black.
    So when will we see Hennessy Gay, Hennessy Asian or Hennessy Hispanic come out … ??
    As if we need Hennessy to tell us who we are !!

  9. Avatar

    Haha you will always find haters! I love Hennessy Black both mixed and straight so does most of my friends I go out with! So fore the haters Keep on drinking what you drinking.this one is for Us, the new generation of cognac consumers;)

  10. Avatar

    This cognac is pure marketing. A black bottle just looks cool! I tried it, don’t waist your money!

  11. Avatar

    I take back that not buying part. If you collect bottles buy it, an put it on your shelf!

  12. Avatar

    Dear #8 CognacTruths,
    I didn’t think HN White was ever released in the US? I’d double check your data.

  13. Avatar

    All of you guys on here is a bunch of DRUNKS!! All of ya’ll wouldn’t know quality if it slapped you on the lips and bust in your eye.

  14. Avatar

    I drink HN because it is the only thing I’ve drank that does not make me sick as hell no matter how much I drink it. I, by far am not a drunk, but i’ve graduated from E&J to Paul Masson, to HN vs to Privledge to XO. And XO is the drink I know better than to mix with anything else. The quality in the XO is very obvious. Now, the HN Black taste very good. And the bottle looks cool. Black is still HN and I will not go drink anything else but HN. Anyone that knows me knows this. I mix mine with white cranberry juice. I call it “racial harmony”. The Black is a good drink. Its not XO, but what is.

  15. Avatar
    Prince G Orioko

    An evening without hennesy can best be describe as waste!. Is one cognac I will proudly recommend to my folks without blinking.

  16. Avatar

    I am new to brandy. I tried Hennessy Black 1765 and Black Watch VSOP, an American brandy. The latter had a better taste and only cost 1/4 as much. Why should I waste money for a brand name?

  17. Avatar

    The bottle is a cool look…I’m a HN drinker and just received my HN BLACK today…cant wait to try it…i love brandy but my fav is HN all the way!…

  18. Avatar

    I was not a fan of Hennessy until I tried black. Now it’s my absolute number one favorite alcohol out of Grey goose, black label, Chivas, glendfidich, I just love Henny black more than anything. Maybe it’s because of the experiences I have had when drinking Henny black at parties and clubs.

  19. Avatar

    Bought a bottle a few years ago and was not impressed. Should not be drank straight. Must be mixed to get any kind of use from it. For the price, it’s quite garbage.

    The closest description I can give, is a mild & tasteless watered-down bourbon.

    You’re better off buying the Courvoisier VS at a cheaper price, and also get a much better product in that class.

    70% of the price for the Hennessy Black is for marketing costs. The product itself cannot be worth more than a few dollars for what it offers. Way overpriced.

  20. Avatar

    I think is overpriced for a rough cognac, it burns when you sip. I stick to Remy Martin 1738.

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