Hine Antique XO

Spirit Name:
Spirit Type
Hine Antique XO
Score:
95/100 
3, medal, silver icon

ABV:
40% 
Region:
Cognac, France  
Body:
Medium-full 
Intensity:
Medium  
Texture:
Medium-oily  
Balance:
Heavenly  
Best served:
Neat  
Theme(s):
This cognac expresses itself with finesse and charm, radiating an elegant combination of vibrant apple tarte tatin and the spicy influence of oak as a soft mellowing licorice is met with a finish of a dark chocolate oozing with a liquor that steams off the tongue.
Tasting notes:
The Hine Antique XO is a “Premier Cru” produced using grapes exclusively from the Grade Champagne region of Cognac – a region regarded by many as the very best for cognac. It is a blend of over 40 different cognacs which have been aged for at least 10 years. 
 
Nose: The nose of this cognac is delightful. It offers subtle freshness, sweetness, complexity and spiciness. 
 
The aroma is subtle and fresh, with a richness that is dominant in the glass and compliments the alcohol beautifully. That subtle freshness radiates in the glass like an apple tarte tatin – a famous upside down French dessert which involved the caremalisation of fruit and sugar before the tart is baked. immediately the baked green apple lifts up from the glass with honey and sugar as the gentle vanilla bean and buttery pastry soften the spiciness.  It is therefore very complex, as its components combine to create a lusciously delicious whole. Wood spices and fresh green peppercorns pierce through the thin fog of licorice that holds together that beautiful apple rich tarte tatin. 
 
Taste: Elegant and gentle, the cognac meets the palate with a sudden burst of sweet fruity character that is quickly counterbalanced by the spicy wood influence that tingles on the tongue as the tarte tatin is now overloaded with apricot, peaches and pineapple that have been preserved in grappa (unaged brandy, and given my Italian ancestry this is what i am most familiar with) – the theme of licorice remains a constant. This cognac is difficult to grasp because of its lovely complexity, and from the outset it is clear that there are many layers to unpack. 
 
Finish: As the fruit and licorice evapourate from the tongue, the flavours of an old favourite – liquor filled dark chocolate blocks – linger on the palate with its crystallized sugary center that oozes with the alcohol that steams off the tongue. This is not as sweet as the liqueur chocolates, but resemble a sweetness that is balanced by bitter cocoa rich chocolate.  

Likes:
Elegant complexity and finesse that releases artistry in a glass; superb work from Hine!   
Dislikes:
While this expresses itself on the palate like an orchestra, with many parts playing beautifully as one whole, the volume is quite low and requires careful attention to be fully appreciated. 
Price:
$225 (Aus), £115 (UK), 
Visit Hine in Jarnac, France (hold your mouse on the below picture and move it around)

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