Inside Hennessy’s Most Elevated and Ludicrously Rare Cognac, Paradis Impérial

For Paradis Impérial, Hennessy’s premier blend, eighth-generation Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde hand-selects the eau-de-vie from the cellar’s best barrels, creating one of the finest cognacs on the planet. “This blend stands out as the jewel in the crown,” says Bernard Peillon, chairman and CEO of Hennessy. With its limited release this year, a special vessel was, of course, required. Hennessy partnered with the contemporary artist Arik Levy to create a crystal decanter that helps tell the story of the special blend. And as if that weren’t enough, it’s paired with a bespoke trunk by Louis Vuitton, designed to hold four magnums of Hennessy Paradis Impérial.

“Both houses’ founders, Richard Hennessy and Louis Vuitton, were creative visionaries with a desire to shape the world they lived in,” says Peillon. “So this trunk is a celebration and an incarnation of a lifestyle and a way of looking at the world shared by these two icons of French art de vivre.” We couldn’t agree more.

Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde on his latest and most elevated creation

What distinguished Paradis Impérial from other Hennessy blends?

What moves me the most about Hennessy Paradis Impérial is not only the elegance and finesse of this exceptional blend, but also the passion for precision and the art of selection of all my predecessors who dedicated their lives to building the future.

How did you arrive at it?

It was my uncle, Yann Fillioux, Hennessy’s seventh-generation Master Blender, who created this exceptional cognac a decade ago. In 2010, he sensed that the time had come to create an exceptional, unique blend, selecting from among the most precious eaux-de-vie the ones that were at the peak of their expression, the ones that had reached their point of elegance. This art of selection is an inestimable savoir-faire that has been passed down, year after year, and I am committed today to continue to build this legacy.

What were some of the lessons your uncle taught you about making cognac?

Transmission of savoir-faire is essential for the role of Master Blender. More than lessons, my uncle has not only handed down his savoir-faire of tasting, selecting, and blending, but he has instilled in me a true passion for this profession. More than 15 years of training by his side have prepared me for this role, and have given me the necessary courage to take on the extraordinary challenge to prepare today the legacy of the future for Hennessy.

Where do you want to take cognac, and the brand? How will you put your stamp on it?

I share with Hennessy a vision of excellence that we need to transmit to the entire ecosystem around us, and that includes the winegrowers and distillers that we work with, the barrel-makers, and many others. The strength of this house is to reinvent itself. The important thing is to be able to align everyone on this vision, to share common objectives in order to continue to transmit to the following generations those that our ancestors passed on to us.

What is the future of cognac making?

Continuity. To work today in order to prepare the quality for tomorrow and accompany quality into the future.

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