Interviews

Published on June 26th, 2018 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Hennessy’s Jordan Bushell On The New Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Limited-Edition Carafe & More

The largest cognac producer in the world, the roots of Jas Hennessy & Co. — better known as Hennessy — go back to 1765. Known to sell around 50 million bottles per year, Hennessy is appreciated by adults of all ages, as immortalized in songs by Tupac Shakur, Snoop Dogg, Drake, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Mobb Deep, Dej Loaf and Tech N9ne. The company also appeals to the literary scene, sponsoring the New Irish Writing competition in the Irish Independent, having helped launch the careers of Frank McGuinness, Dermot Bolger, Anne Enright and Hugo Hamilton.

One of Hennessy’s more popular offerings is the Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège, which is currently paying tribute to 200 years of brand heritage with the release of a new limited-edition anniversary carafe. The carafe masterfully weaves together modern design components with elements that pay homage to the brand’s past; specifically recalling the date in March 1818, when the future King George IV of England received his specially commissioned “tierçon cask of excellent quality old pale” from James Hennessy. Since Hennessy’s founding, the Hennessy and Fillioux families have approached Cognac-making differently, together. With what would be called Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège, James Hennessy and Jean Fillioux created a new style of Cognac that would transform the art of cognac-making, inspiring the future “Very Superior Old Pale” designation along with other cognac history.

To learn more about the limited-edition anniversary carafe, in addition to what else Hennessy has going on, I spoke with Brand Ambassador Jordan Bushell. Bushell can be followed on Twitter via @MixingJordan, while Hennessy keeps its online home at www.hennessy.com.

How did you wind up in the spirits industry?

Jordan Bushell: I first started in the spirits industry as a server and then quickly moved to bartending before bar management. I actually only started because I had taken a bartending class after a friend urged me to. My mother then forced me to use my knowledge, believing that wasted knowledge is a missed opportunity. I started working in bars and fell in love with the welcoming embrace that a bar can have on a group of people.

The alcohol industry is very much the same. Beyond everything else the job involves, we need to remember that people use our products to celebrate something as simple as the end of a long day to large celebrations like weddings, anniversaries and other major life events. It is an exciting thing to be involved with.

How did the opportunity to serve as Hennessy’s National Brand Ambassador come about?

Jordan Bushell: Hennessy was looking for someone new and fresh outside of their current celebrity ambassador. They found me originally through a massive cocktail competition with eight contestants making the finals from all over the world. Suffice to say, my experience working with Hennessy went well and later I was given a full-time position as National Brand Ambassador.

What is a typical day like for you as Hennessy’s National Brand Ambassador?

Jordan Bushell: A typical day keeps me on my toes. I do everything from creating new cocktails to fit a number of different moments, to training bars and bartenders across the country. I often host events where I give speeches about Hennessy or introduce the guest of honor. One of my favorite moments is speaking one-on-one with people to unravel the mysteries of Cognac.

How did the V.S.O.P limited-edition anniversary carafe come about?

Jordan Bushell: The carafe came about in honor of the history and mastery of V.S.O.P Privilège. Two centuries ago the future King of England and Cognac-connoisseur George IV requested an exquisite eau-de-vie, which was delivered by Maison Hennessy to the royal court in 1818. With what would be called Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège, Hennessy created a new style of Cognac that would transform the art of Cognac making, inspiring the future “Very Superior Old Pale” designation.

V.S.O.P Privilège is the perfect embodiment of the mastery of Hennessy’s Comité de Dégustation, a manifestation of Hennessy’s unwavering dedication to innovation. To celebrate the 200th anniversary, Hennessy is paying tribute to a journey of Cognac mastery with a limited-edition anniversary carafe that gives a nod to centuries of craftsmanship through modern design elements.

Who designed the carafe? What was the inspiration?

Jordan Bushell: The V.S.O.P Privilège 200th anniversary limited-edition carafe pays homage to the original V.S.O.P design with a traditional charentaise bottle featuring Hennessy’s vine leaf motif and vintage stamps inspired by its original label. The modern box brushed in aluminum bears words excerpted from the future King George IV’s request for a “very superior old” Cognac. The use of copper-colored embellishment references the cooper pot stills that turn our wine into eau-de-vie. The wood inside the lid is a nod to the French oak from the Limousin forests that is used to create some of the best barrels in the world in which our eaux-de-vie reach their maturity and become ready for blending.

The limited-edition carafe reminds us of the legacy of V.S.O.P Privilège, a well-structured blend recognized for its unmatched richness & complexity, and the eight generations of the Hennessy and Fillioux families that have made the Hennessy name synonymous with the exceptional Cognac.

How long will it be available? Is it specific to the U.S.?

Jordan Bushell: The V.S.O.P Privilège 200th anniversary limited-edition carafe will be available at fine retailers throughout the U.S. until supplies last.

Any other V.S.O.P anniversary happenings to look forward to? Or other upcoming Hennessy initiatives of note?

Jordan Bushell: We’re excited for the many activations that will come to life around the world this year to celebrate 200 years of V.S.O.P. In Fall 2018, Hennessy will mark the momentous occasion for U.S. audiences with a consumer-facing engagement evoking the mastery of the Hennessy Tasting Committee. We are also excited for the debut of this year’s Hennessy V.S Limited Edition bottle, the 8th release in a series of artist collaborations that will hit shelves nationwide starting July 2018.

When not busy with Hennessy, how do you spend your free time?

Jordan Bushell: I spend my free time doing things that excite me or challenge me. I love to ski and will spend as much time around mountains as I can. When ski season is over, I search out anything around lakes or oceans. The short answer is water — either frozen or not. On top of that is my thirst for all knowledge around drinks from wine trainings to further spirit education. I really enjoy what I do and love to improve my skills in my off-time.

Hennessy aside, what is your cocktail of choice?

Jordan Bushell: For me, the Sazerac is a day-in and day-out cocktail that fits more occasions than not:
· 2.5 oz Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac
· 0.25 oz Simple Syrup
· 1/8 oz Absinthe
· 5 Dashes Paychaud Bitters
· Garnish: Lemon Twist
· Glass: Rocks

Method: Add Hennessy, Simple Syrup and bitters to a mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled, strain into a rocks glass that has been washed with the absinthe and garnish with a lemon twist.

What was the last concert you attended for fun?

Jordan Bushell: OneRepublic — my girlfriend and I got free tickets from a friend. They were very good live, tons of energy and great stage presence.

Finally, Jordan, any last words for the kids?

Jordan Bushell: I think this is an important year for Hennessy as it marks the 200th anniversary of V.S.O.P Privilège, but more than that, I think it is proof of Richard Hennessy’s path when he founded Hennessy. He bet heavily that aged Cognac would become something great and would be the future. It started with V.S.O.P Privilège, and I think he would not be surprised to see where we have gone with it.

Drinking Hennessy is a privilege passed down from Richard and lovingly cared for by each generation since. I feel truly honored that I get to help in whatever small way I can.


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About the Author

is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He has been a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.


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