In a nutshell: A rich and elegant Fine Champagne VSOP Cognac from the House of Thomas Hine.
The lowdown: This is a blend of over 20 different eaux-de-vie, with at least half from Grande Champagne vineyards with the reaminder from Petite Champagne which allows it to be labelled as a Fine Champagne Cognac. It has floral notes of jasmine, acacia, vanilla, oak and fruit on the nose while the delicate palate is mellow, smooth and very well-balanced. It's and excellent and good value VSOP well worthy of its Royal Warrant.
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.