VSOP stands for “Very Superior Old Pale”: VSOP cognacs are created from eaux-de-vie aged for at least four years. The VSOP category includes designations such as “Old” or “Reserve”. XO stands for “Extra Old”: XO cognacs are made only from eaux-de-vie at least six years old.
Jas Hennessy & Co., commonly known simply as Hennessy (French pronunciation: [ɛnɛsi]), is a French cognac distiller with its headquarters located in Cognac, France. Jas Hennessy & Co. sells about 50 million bottles a year worldwide, making it the largest cognac producer, supplying more than 40 percent of the world’s cognac, a variety of brandy. The company is owned by Moët Hennessy, which is in turn owned by LVMH (66%) and Diageo (34%).
The Hennessy cognac distillery was founded by Irish Jacobite military officer Richard Hennessy in 1765. His son James Hennessy gave the company its name Jas Hennessy & Co in 1813. During the 1970s, Kilian Hennessy, a fifth-generation direct descendant of Hennessy, became the CEO of Hennessy, succeeding his first cousin Maurice-Richard. Kilian Hennessy spearheaded the company’s 1971 merger with Moët et Chandon, which created Moët Hennessy.
Moët Hennessy merged with Louis Vuitton in 1987, creating one of the world’s largest luxury brand conglomerates, Louis Vuitton • Moët-Hennessy or LVMH. In 1988, a management crisis led to the group’s takeover by Bernard Arnault, owner of the haute couture house Christian Dior, with the support of Guinness. Kilian Hennessy remained on the company’s advisory board until his death in 2010 at the age of 103.
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