In a nutshell: A fresh and smooth VSOP Cognac from the House of Thomas Hine.
The lowdown: With a distinctive label 'H' by Hine is one of the most popular VSOPs on the market. It's a blend of several Grande and Petite Champagne Eaux-de-vie with most being older than the minimum 4 years of age. It's light and fresh with floral notes of jasmine, acacia, iris, apricot and vanilla and it's velvety smooth on the palate.
Thomas Hine, from Dorset, was something of an adventurer who found himself in southwest France during the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century. Not the easiest of times, but after marrying locally he went onto run the distilling business of his father in law later giving it his own name in 1817. Since then 6 generations of the family have succeeded to the business as it has continued to prosper. It was awarded a Royal Warrant by Elizabeth II in 1962 and remains the only official supplier Cognac to the British Monarchy. Their base is to be found on the banks of the Charente in the town of Jarnac in the heart of the region.