Spirits & Wine

HINE Cognac Tasting with Per Even Allaire

The town of Cognac in France might seem a little sleepy to the visitor but along the banks of the river Charentes lie several Cognac Houses steeped in history and tradition. The house of HINE is one of the oldest in Jarnac and little has changed in its cellars in 250 years.

Like many Cognac houses, HINE has its roots in England. Founder Thomas Hine was born in Dorset, England and moved to France in 1791 where he married into a great Jarnac family and joined his father in law’s Cognac business. In 1817, he took over the company and renamed it Thomas HINE.

Hine Cognac

“A good Cognac starts with good wines,” says Per Even Allaire, HINE Cognac Global Brand Ambassador during his visit to Sydney.

There are six Cognac districts that radiate from the centre of town: Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Borderies, Fins Bois, Bons Bois and Bois Ordinaires.

Finesse, delicacy and complexity are key elements that distinguish HINE Cognac from others. It sits “almost on the feminine side of the aromatic panel,” says Per Even.

Hine Cognac
Per Even Allaire, HINE Cognac Global Brand Ambassador

Made exclusively from Grande et Petite Champagne, areas renowned for their chalky subsoil which gives it these characteristics, HINE only make VSOP (minimum 4 years ageing) and above, and no VS Cognacs (minimum 2 years ageing).

HINE is known for its delicate and refined aromas without much oak. To achieve this balance, the Cognac is aged in Tronçais oak casks, which have a fine and tight grain that does not allow too much interaction with the spirits. The casks are also very lightly toasted on the inside and that lightness contributes to maintaining the floral and fruity characters of the Cognac.

Hine Cognac
H by Hine (right)

H by HINE is an entry level Cognac and relatively new. Made from a blend of 20 Grande et Petite Champagne Cognacs, this is the most floral of the range with fruity and vanilla aromas. It can be served slightly chilled and enjoyed as an aperitif-style Cognac.

Hine Cognac
Antique XO 1er Cru (middle)

Antique XO 1er Cru is HINE’s flagship Cognac which was created in 1920 by George Hine. Made exclusively from Grande Champagne, it is a blend of more than 40 cognacs that have all been aged for a minimum of 10 years. (XO minimum 6 years ageing)

On the nose, it has a little more spice from the time spent in the barrel as well as aromas of ripe fruit. On the palate, it lingers with vanilla, spice, and baked apple. A complex and smooth Cognac with a long finish.

Hine Cognac

Triomphe is an exceptional cognac created in 1888 by Edouard Hine in celebration of the man’s victory over the phylloxera epidemic which destroyed most of the vineyards at the time. Made from a blend of 50 rare old cognacs again exclusively from Grande Champagne which have been aged for an average of 45-55 years.

Sweeter on the nose, with caramel notes and more oak, it is the most expressive of the HINE’s floral Cognacs, incredibly smooth and lingering on the palate.

When it comes to pairing Cognac with food, it is best to ensure that there is no conflict of aromas, and that the aroma in the plate matches that of the glass. Foods with too much salt, spice and chilli are best avoided.

The HINE Cognac range also includes Hine Rare VSOP, Cigar Reserve, Homage, Family Reserve, Mariage, Talent and Vintages, where in exceptional years, Cellar Master Eric Forget puts aside a few casks of cognacs to be aged as single vintages.

Hine Cognac

The HINE Cognac experience with Per Even Allaire was held on Tuesday 22 May 2012 at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Sydney. Gourmantic attended the Hine Cognac tasting as a media guest.


This article is posted on Gourmantic.com - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2018.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.