There are times when big blending houses can be a giant clusterfuck of mismanagement and bad booze. However, there are also moments when large producers with libraries of incredible stock use their size and selection to their advantage, creating something supremely stellar that couldn't be accomplished on a smaller scale. Above, we have a photo of the latter.
The new Hennessy Paradis Imperial Cognac $2,299.99 (not to be confused with the standard Paradis) is one of the few luxury-oriented products I've tasted over the last year where the juice has actually outshined the ornate bottle. And this is one beautiful bottle! Crystal decanters aside, the blenders at Hennessy did an incredible job with the Imperial, pulling out some of their oldest selections for the assemblage. It's so delicate, nuanced, and intricate in style that it's almost an un-Hennessy version of Hennessy. I don't mean that as a slight to the standard Hennessy style, it's just that I would never use the word "delicate" to describe their other brandies. Hennessy Cognacs are normally dark, rich, textural, and full of caramel flavor. The Imperial is lithe, lean, fruity, chameleonic, and haunting. If you've got 2.3 grand to blow on a fancy bottle with a ten pound decanter and crystal stopper that would probably not pass TSA inspection, this is the one to get.
Also just in from our friends at LVMH, the newest incarnation of Grand Marnier Titanium $39.99 (due in tomorrow morning) - basically the same old delicious Grand Marnier recipe without any sugar. While some producers, Ferrand for example, have catered to the sugar-conscious market with "dry" versions of Curacao or orange liqueur, this is the first I've tasted that's literally "dry" - as in sugar-free. What you've got with the Titanium is VSOP or higher grade Cognac with orange zest and spices. I think it's delicious, although I don't know if it's the non-sweet sweetener you've been looking for. I think it's just a tasty Cognac that happens to have orange in it. I would sip this on the rocks or with tonic water, not make it the middle of my new margarita.
This isn't in stock yet, but it has arrived in California! Our first collaboration with Campeon Tequila and El Viejito distillery is bottled and almost ready to go! No more perfume decanter, no more brand-oriented marketing, just vibrant, zesty, unadulterated tequila for a hot price! We plan to have it on the shelf at $29.99 which makes it $10 less than our other high-end blancos. The goal was to create a tequila that was good enough to sip, but not so expensive that you wouldn't want to mix it. More importantly, I made sure that we stayed true to my new expectation: that a tequila should tell you where the agave was grown, the type of soil it was grown in, and the elevation at which it was grown. Especially when we're dealing with blanco tequila.