Hennessy, creator of the world’s finest cognacs, hosted a private dinner with Mr. Maurice Richard Hennessy at Lucques Restaurant in Los Angeles on October 2nd. Guests entered the rustic carriage house of the original Harold Lloyd Estate and were greeted with a perfectly-concocted glass of the Hennessy “Apple Fizz” served by several of Hennessy’s stunning samplers. Guests mingled with Mr. Hennessy and enjoyed passed appetizers created by the restaurant’s executive chef and co-owner Suzanne Goin.
Guests were then seated and Mr. Maurice Hennessy began educating attendees on the many generations of the history of Hennessy. Maurice proceeded to introduce the 18-carat and gold-labeled bottle of the Hennessy Paradis Imperial designed by Stephanie Balini for a rare tasting of the higher-marqued cognac. Guests sampled the rare blended cognac and were educated on how to taste each of the notes that Paradis Imperial has to offer. The depth of this cognac had stories to tell and sipping it throughout dinner was a treat.
We also enjoyed a lavish 3-course meal with a choice of Braised Beef or Steelhead Salmon. I ordered the Salmon, which had a hint of heat and was prepared beautifully. I tasted the Braised Beef, which was spectacular and both entrees paired well with Hennessy’s specialty mixed drinks like The Hennessy Ginger, Hennessy Spice, and Hennessy Paradis Imperial which added the perfect touch. After raising a final toast, we noshed on a special dessert, a flourless chocolate torta that included roasted dates and was topped with a cup of espresso. The flourless cake was one of the best I have ever eaten and combined with the roasted dates, it was quite decadent.
One may not think of Hennessy right away when thinking of a cocktail, but after my tasting experience, I would highly recommend it. There is a variety of Hennessy cocktails, each with layers of flavor, which are pronounced while delivering a refreshing quality.
I had the pleasure of talking with Maurice Richard Hennessy after dinner. He is quite charming and very approachable. Eight generations of the Hennessy family have contributed to the Hennessy brand. When Maurice was younger, he did not think he would go into the family business, but after working with his grandfather, he realized it was his passion and there was no turning back. Hennessy has been served since the 18th century to kings, heads of state, and many aristocrats. Aged in hand-made French oak barrels for many years, Hennessy has mastered the aging process and produces a stellar cognac; each cognac has it’s own personality and uniqueness for our drinking pleasure.
Humble with a great sense of humor, Maurice is very aware of his legacy. Maurice considers himself a farmer and feels blessed to be able to farm and have the assistance to do so while visiting and dining with the special guests in Los Angeles.
Maurice said that what he is making this winter won’t be served until 2017 and if it’s good it will be consumed in the 22nd or 23rd century.
When I asked him about his legacy and family he said it is like an oak tree. You may plant it but not see it grow, and you should not cut an oak tree for 120 years. You will never use it yourself, but for your great grandchildren. When he plants a vineyard, he plants it for his daughter… His father and grandfather and great grandfather who started Hennessy in 1870 are all a part of this. Maurice feels lucky to be part of what his great grandfather started.
Visit www.Hennessy.com where you will be able to get recipes and begin your own Hennessy tradition.