Hine Cognac Range Review

We were lucky enough to visit Maison Hine in Jarnac and be taken on a journey around their vineyards, distillery and cellars, before sample some of Hine’s impressive range of premium Cognacs.

Founded in 1763 by Englishman, Thomas Hine, Hine is highly regarded around the world for its refined and complex expressions, as well as the House’s impressive collection of single vintage Cognacs.

Find out more about Hine Cognac and our trip to Maison Hine here

 

Tasting Notes: Hine Cognac

 Hine Tasting

H by Hine VSOP Cognac

H by Hine

40% AVB

This is Hine’s most entry level Cognac that is blended from more than 15 Cognacs, all more than four years old.

Nose

Light with a gentle honeysuckle and fruit nose.

Taste

A soft yet expressive easy drinker with floral and fresh fruit notes.

Suggested Serve

This is a perfect cocktail Cognac ­­– yes, that’s a thing. Enjoy it in a highball with a good quality mixer such as Fever-Tree Ginger Ale or Thomas Henry Tonic Water. The perfect Summer thirst-quencher!

Price

£38.75. Buy is at The Whisky Exchange

Hine Rare VSOP Fine Champagne

HINE Rare VSOP

40% ABV

Blending 60% Grande Champagne with 40% Petite Champagne Cognacs, aged between six and 12 years, this is a recipe first introduced by Thomas Hine himself.

Nose

Subtle notes of honey and white flowers start, followed by peaches in syrup, apricots and a prickle of spice.

Taste

Juicy fruit pervades the palate with a lick of liquorice coming through. The lees that the wine is rested on gives a creamy impression that meets the notes of brioche and gentle bitterness of hazelnuts that ends the palate.

Suggested Serve

Neat.

Price

£50.95. Buy at The Whisky Exchange and get a FREE Hine Antique Miniature

Hine Homage XO

Hine Homage

40% ABV

This special edition Cognac has been produced by cellar master, Eric Forget, using a blend of 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987 “Early Landed” Grande Champagne Cognacs that were matured in the UK, as well as some XO Cognac from Hine’s cellars in Jarnac.

Nose

A fuller nutty aroma, with white flowers, orange and pear-drops.

Taste

Matching the nose, the Homage is fuller on the palate with lovely fresh orange oils, pepper spice, hints of nutmeg and a rich prune ending.

Suggested Serve

Like everything from this point on, serve neat.

Price

£105. Buy at The Whisky Exchange

Hine Orangerie XO

Hine Orangerie

40% ABV

A real treat to try, Orangerie is only available to buy from The Orangerie shop at Maison Hine in Jarnac. Only 500 editions of this bottle have been produced, all using cognacs aged in the cellar below venue. With an average age of 18 years, it is like the Homage but without its four vintages.

Nose

Peaches and honeysuckle waft through the nose, leaving a lingering, delicious and pervasive sweetness, with a light tickle of pepper.

Taste

This is surprisingly different from everything we’ve tried so far. Rhubarb custard sweetness pairs with a saline quality on the palate to create an unusual and dynamic expression that it is worth travelling to France to try!

 Suggested Serve

Again, enjoy neat, and perhaps alongside a dessert such as a rhubarb crumble or apple strudel.

Price

€95. Only purchasable at The Orangerie at Maison Hine in Cognac, France.

Hine Antique XO Premier Cru Cognac

Hine Antique XO

40% ABV

A more traditional XO that Orangerie. This complex Cognac has an average age of 20-22 years blended spirits and its recipe dates back to 1920.

Nose

A rich nose filled with leather, honey and vanilla, and dappled with hints of spice and floral elements.

Taste

Full and powerful without losing the nuance and complexity Hine is known for. Punchy prunes and juicy raisins are met with buttery notes, fudge, and some deep, earthy, rancio aspects. Florals are ever-present, floating above the forest floor and the increased wood intervention adds depth of flavour and gentle spice to the well-preserved fruit.

Suggested Serve

Neat.

Price

£125. Buy at The Whisky Exchange

Domaines Hine Bonneuil Single Estate 2006, Limited Edition

Hine Bonneuil 2006

42.8% ABV

These single estate and single vintage Cognacs from the Bonneuil vineyard in Grand Champagne are about producing and demonstrating Cognacs with a wine approach. Both versions we try are aged to around 19 years old and come from the same plot, meaning the only difference is the year they were harvested (so what the grapes tastes like that year). There are around 8,000 bottles released and Rudolph, who is hosting our tasting, explains the expressions need longer ageing, but are still an interesting experiment into terroir.

Nose

An amazing, bright and honeyed nose with a perfumed, bee pollen presence.

Taste

The taste is refined and elegant with dry cedar notes and a very light, white blossom honey.

Suggested Serve

Neat and next to another Bonneuil vintage to see the difference.

Price

£84.25. Buy at The Whisky Exchange

Domaines Hine Bonneuil Single Estate 2008, Limited Edition

Hine Bonneuil 2008

42.7% ABV

Alike in every way to the previous Bonneuil except that the grapes were harvested in 2008 and give a snapshot of that year.

Nose

Dramatically different on the nose to the 2006! Much richer with dates and raisins combining with red cherries.

Taste

As expected from the nose, this vintage is fuller, darker and more robust than the previous vintage.

Suggested Serve

Neat and next to another Bonneuil vintage to see the difference.

Price

£88.95. Buy at The Whisky Exchange

Hine 1985 Grande Champagne Early Landed, Aged in Bristol

1985 Early Landed and Jarnac Vintage

40% ABV

Whilst the Bonneuil Single Estate bottlings were about terroir and vintage, these next two speak to ageing. Aged 25 years, these are still young by Cognac standards, meaning that there isn’t too much oak interaction from the barrels. This “Early Landed” edition has been aged in the UK where humidity is higher and constant, and temperature lower and constant compared to Jarnac, meaning less oxidation, less Angel Share loss and slower maturation.

Nose

Light, honeysuckle character with salted caramel notes.

Taste

Due to the slower maturation, the spirit, whilst aged, retains more youthful elements, producing a airy, less evolved and nutty style.

Suggested Serve

Neat and next to the below bottling (aged in France) of the same vintage to see the difference.

Price

A very very tricky one to hunt down. The best option is to go to Maison Hine for a tasting. However, you can Buy Hine 1986, Landed 1988 at The Whisky Exchange for £250.

If you’re looking for a vintage comparison between Early Landed and Jarnac aged, why not try Hine 1983 Vintage Cognac alongside Hine 1983 Early Landed Vintage Cognac.

Hine 1985 Grande Champagne, Aged in Jarnac

1985 Early Landed and Jarnac Vintage

40% ABV

This is the same liquid as the previous bottle but has been aged in the cellars under The Orangerie at Maison Hine in Jarnac, France, where conditions are very different.

Nose

Thicker sweetness on the nose with an undercurrent of perfume.

Taste

Strikingly different from the UK-aged vintage! Rich toffee and salted caramel, with a fruit basket of cherry, prune and dark berries that is complex without weighing heavily on the palate.

Suggested Serve

Neat and next to the above bottling (aged in UK) of the same vintage to see the difference.

Price 

Again, a hard one to track down outside of Maison Hine.

However if you’re looking for a vintage comparison between Early Landed and Jarnac aged, why not try Hine 1983 Vintage Cognac alongside Hine 1983 Early Landed Vintage Cognac.

Hine Triomphe

Hine Triomphe

40% ABV

This is the pinnacle of Hine’s staple repertoire. Made only using Cognacs that have reached their peak maturity, it is an uber-complex and ultra-premium Cognac that any collector would be lucky to have in their collection.

Nose

Blossom, peach, cinnamon, Danish pastry, Crêpes Suzette, grapes, warm prunes and melted butter flood the nose with maddening and mouth-watering occasion.

Taste

The aromas make us overly eager to taste the dram but we force ourselves to approach it slowly. We’re rewarded with red and black fruit pastilles, cigar box cedar, flambéed caramel, dried red cherries, olive brine, orange rind, candied fruit and caramelised nuts as well as that somehow always present fresh and floral fruit that Hine has perfected. This is truly an outstanding work of art that is a MUST for anyone with an interest in Cognac.

Suggested Serve

Neat. Appreciated slowly and deliberately.

Price 

£20.95 for 5cl sample at The Whisky Exchange (70cl bottle due to be back in stock mid-September 2019, so get a Google Alert); or Buy 70cl for £553.76 at Premiers Grands Crus

 

Interested in finding out more about Hine Cognac? Read our Trip To Hine Cognac here.