Vi vivo et armis. That is the 246-year-old motto at Hennessy. It means “live with force and by arms”, which in the days of imperial courts seems entirely appropriate.
Armed with the finest cognacs in their cellar, Hennessy has kept favour with many royalty, including Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia. On the occasion of her son Alexander I’s 42nd birthday in 1818, Feodorovna requested “an excellent, very old, gold-coloured eau-de-vie of the very finest quality.” This winter, Hennessy re-released this recipe in the form of Paradis Impérial, a cognac made from over 100 eaux-de-vie. Only nine bottles will be available to British Columbians, and should you be among the lucky few to sample it, brand ambassador Cyrille Gautier Auriol insists, “No ice cube—that would be a crime.” Instead, live with force.