The Sarrazine cooperage in Cognac manufactures, warehouses and repairs the barrels which contain Hennessy eaux-de-vie to ensure that they age properly.
Hennessy is the only cognac House with its own cooperage. Fifteen people, including two trainees, are responsible for the 350,000 Hennessy casks. This painstaking work, entirely carried out by hand using traditional tools that the coopers pass down from generation to generation, requires techniques calling upon incredible dexterity, which result from unique savoir-faire nurtured for almost 250 years. Trained by their forefathers, the master coopers then pass down the age-old techniques to the younger generations. Sarrazine is one of the last cooperages still to use these practices today.
Hennessy is extremely demanding when it comes to the selection of the wood it uses, and selects only French Limousin oak from sustainably-managed and PEFC-certified forests. It is also the owner of a forest, one of the first private wooded areas to be certified PEFC in France, for its sustainable management. After the selection process, the wood is made into staves and laid outside to dry for three years. During this time, the staves are subjected to the vagaries of the changing seasons (rain and sunshine), which help to eradicate the wood’s coarsest tannins. Only after this period of aging can they be entrusted to the coopers and transformed into barrels that will house Hennessy eaux-de-vie.