You can't match an eye-wateringly rare cognac with any old dining experience, which is why Hennessy has partnered with the Four Seasons Hotel on Park lane to create a really fancy private-dining and tasting room centred around its Paradis Imperial.
The top-end expression is a blend of 19th and 20th century cognacs, while the experience at the Four Seasons plays on the concept of ‘the art of selection’. Of each of the 10,000 eaux de vies tasted by Hennessy’s master blender and tasting committee each year, only 10 are deemed to have what it takes to make it into the final blend.
‘We came up with this motto [of 10 out of every 10,000] and then the whole idea for the experience room developed,’ Four Seasons’ director of food and beverage Jann Kaiser told Imbibe. ‘Guests nowadays look for experiences and, working with a partner like Hennessy, we can provide a deeper level of insight.’
Guests will be welcomed into the Hennessy Experience Room through a private entrance on Hamilton Place, where they’ll be greeted by their host with an aperitif of Hennessy XO over ice. Next is a four-course dining experience created by Four Seasons’ executive chef Romuald Feger, culminating in a tasting of the Hennessy Paradis Imperial led by the host.
‘It is all about the art of selection,’ said Hennessy ambassador Fabien Levieux. ‘You need 400,000 barrels of stock and eight generations of master blenders from the same family [to create it].’
After trialling a full cognac-paired dinner, the Four Seasons and Hennessy teams decided the combination was too heavy. Instead, savoury courses are paired with Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay 2015 and Cheval des Andes 2013, which, like Hennessy, are owned by LVMH.
‘The whole menu is about precision, really clean flavours, and perfectly paired beverages,’ said Kaiser. ‘We trialled the Scottish blue lobster tail with a cognac foam, which is a traditional preparation, but it became too heavy.
‘The lobster actually goes amazingly well with Chardonnay, but we didn’t want to have a heavy commercial Chardonnay, so this unfiltered, organic one fitted very well. Then you have the cognac dessert and the grand finale with the Paradis Imperial.’
The private dining room has been subtly designed to reflect the experience. The plates bear the ‘10 in every 10,000 motto’, which has been translated into different languages to be inclusive to the Four Seasons’ international guests. The walls are adorned with photography of an immersive art installation by Marshmallow Laser Feast, which is meant to reflect the complexity of the Hennessy master blender’s task in selecting eaux de vies for the Paradis Imperial.
The Hennessy Experience Room is open for private bookings from 22 February to 27 April. The space can be booked for groups of up to 10 guests, and is priced at £270 per person.
Want to read more about Cognac? Michelle Brachet explored Cognac's rich terroir and how more can be done to tell the world about it for the Luxury issue.