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A Liquid Legacy

Yann Fillioux, the seventh generation of his family to serve as master blender for the House of Hennessy, gazes at the rich amber liquid in his tasting glass. “This,” he says, “is among the last Cognacs I will create.” But rather than ending a legacy that began in 1800, when James Hennessy hired Jean Fillioux to become his first maître de chai, the Cognac represents the continuation of a heritage that has lasted more than 200 years. The eighth generation of the Fillioux family—Yann’s nephew, Renaud Fillioux de Gironde—is set to take on his uncle’s historic responsibility; and the Cognac, Hennessy 8 ($39,000, hennessy.com), marks the moment with a blend of eight eaux-de-vie, including some of the cellar’s oldest and a touch of the youngest, which was selected by de Gironde. Heavily floral, with sharp citrus notes interlaced with smoked oak and creamy almonds, it beckons as it evolves in the snifter. Only 250 Baccarat decanters, designed by Arik Levy, have been produced, each encased in a wooden chest fashioned from barrel staves.