Hennessy is one of the most famous and iconic brands in the world, so, it’s hardly surprising that it’s also regularly counterfeited in the world as well.
In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to distinguish between faux and real, to ensure you will know how to spot fake Hennessy.
Faked Goods is Big Business
We’re all aware that counterfeiting exists when it comes to designer clothes, watches, handbags, and footwear, but not as many people are familiar with fake alcohol. Yes, even alcohol is faked thanks to the relative ease with which it can be done.
And with the fake goods market estimated at $449 billion in 2019, it’s easy to see why just about nothing is off-limits for counterfeiters – least of all a pop-culture icon such as Hennessy. The popularity of the spirit makes it a go-to target for forgers.
For the true cognac connoisseurs, the taste and color of Hennessy Very Special (V.S) is the surest giveaway of whether it would be genuine or not.
But not everyone is an expert and since one can normally only taste the spirit after purchase, it’s not the best method of spotting fakes.
The whole idea is to spot the fake before you buy it. And thankfully, there are relatively simple ways to differentiate whether you’re looking at the real thing and whether you’re looking at an imposter.
We’ve found out what they are so that you don’t need to.
The Hennessy V.S. Bottle
While there are numerous variations of Hennessy, the most popular and therefore most faked version is the standard V.S. Cognac.
The bottle that V.S. comes in is quite distinct in its appearance. The neck is long and runs into a big-to-small tapered, cylindrical shape for the bottom.
The design has been in circulation for quite some time and if you find V.S. in a different shape, you should be wary.
When it comes to the other variations of Hennessy, they all come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This plays into the favor of the V.S. counterfeiters as their “marks” wouldn’t necessarily always be aware of the uniformed bottle that V.S. comes in.
The volume of Hennessy V.S is 750ml and has an ABV of 40%. Any bottle of Hennessy that indicates figures different from that, can be regarded as fake.
Normal pricing for Hennessy starts in the region of $60. If you’re paying significantly less than this for the famous cognac, red flags should start to appear.
We’re not saying that you won’t find genuine Hennessy at better prices, we’re just saying that you need to practice some amount of caution when you do. The golden rule: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
It should go without saying, but your chances for disappointment will decrease if you purchase your Hennessy from reputable platforms or establishments, as opposed to buying privately.
This is especially important when buying online as you won’t necessarily have the means to inspect the finer details on the bottle.
Attention to detail
One thing that genuine brands across the board have in common, no matter the industry, is attention to detail. Whether it’s watches, jewelry, footwear, or designer clothing, the real deal always has a distinguished level of quality to its product, whereas counterfeits do not.
The reason for this is simple: the real brands take pride in their products and do everything in their means to ensure quality, while counterfeiters do not have the time or resources to ensure the same.
And this applies as well when it comes to Hennessy and the counterfeiting thereof. Read on below to find out what are some of the most tell-tale examples.
The “neck” emblem
The neck emblem on a bottle of Hennessy is usually a tell-tale sign of whether it is genuine or not. It is situated towards the stem of the bottle and is supposed to have a distinct black and yellow color.
The emblem is made up of the Hennessy logo in the middle, surrounded by two circles. Within the smaller circle, there are eccentric, tiny squares, embossed on the emblem.
If these small squares are absent in the emblem, you can be assured that you’ve got yourself a fake.
Engraving on the bottle
Numerous engravings are present on a genuine Hennessy bottle, that fake versions usually don’t have.
The most prominent is the ‘1765’ (the year Hennessy was founded) that is engraved on the front lower part of the bottle. The fakes of late do not have this obvious, though intricate, detail included on the bottle.
The meticulous engraving also extends to the bottom of the bottle itself. You will note that on an authentic bottle of Hennessy, there are three stipple-lined circles around the circumference. There is also one sizable indent on one of the sides, as well as a two-digit number in the center.
The details of the volume of the bottle and the trading name “Jas. Hennessy Co.” will also be engraved on the bottom.
Counterfeit products would have one, several, or all these engravings missing, and/or have it to a poor standard when they don’t.
When you look at the labels, front, and back, of a real Hennessy, you will notice that the appearance of the labels is clean and of high quality. It’s beautifully designed with the finer elements included such as embossing of the grapevine and leaves on the front.
On their website, Hennessy illustrates that this very grapevine and the accompanied leaves are contoured by blacklight “to enhance your parties”.
While it may be the case, it also doubles up as a unique way of establishing whether it’s genuine or not. (https://www.hennessy.com/en-int/collection/hennessy-very-special)
If you don’t have a black light handy, you can still rely on good old-fashioned, normal eyesight. Both labels on real Hennessy have rich and vibrant colors, while fakes may appear dull.
Here is a great close-up video of what we’re talking about.
On the rear label, you will also find a unique serial number – yes even cognacs have serial numbers. The recent format of the serial number is a letter that is followed by a twelve-digit number.
If there is no number in this format, you can know that you have a fake.
Excise tax stamps are a requirement for any and all alcoholic goods. Although the presence of an excise stamp doesn’t necessarily, 100% guarantee authenticity, the lack of it almost always confirms that the bottle in question is not real.
Apart from not getting the taste and quality, you are looking for there is also a health risk associated with fake alcohol. This is another important reason to check carefully. They are not regulated in any way so you never know what you are getting.
How To Spot Fake Hennessy – Conclusion
Whether it’s footwear, a luxury watch, or alcoholic beverages, nobody likes being duped into buying anything that is not genuine.
It’s not only upsetting, awkward, and even embarrassing, but in the case of alcohol, it can be fatally dangerous.
When you know what to look out for, it’s really easy to determine whether what you’re looking at is the real deal. We, therefore, urge you to make use of this how-to guide next time you buy your cognac, in order to not fall victim to buying fake Hennessy ever again.