Hennessy Global Brand Ambassador, Maurice Hennessy hosted a private dinner and tasting at the Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood, California this week (February 24). The event was attended by Nipsey Hussle, TDE President, Punch; actor, Jay Ellis; Revolt TVKaren Civil, among others and was organized by Hennessy West Coast Marketing Manager, Thuy-Anh J. Nguyen.

In an exclusive conversation with HipHopDX, Maurice Hennessy recalled the excitement the company felt once it realized Hip Hop had embraced the popular cognac. “I remember a long, long time ago, there was a time when there was a song called “Hennessy,” he said. “Then after that it happened. We were so excited! We had never been songs before! And they were popular songs!

“We started to work with these artists,” Hennessy continued. “For them, there were names which were appealing. If I’m a successful man, I will drive a BMW. I will have a Louis Vuitton suitcase. I will have a Cartier watch. And I will drink Hennessy. That was mentioned in the songs. I remember seeing an article in the Times magazine a long time ago. They were ranking the brand names used by Rap artists. Hennessy was #1 of the eatables. But the [overall] #1 was [Mercedes Benz].”

Maurice Hennessy also shared what he believes to be the most essential business principle in the company’s two-century history. “I think it was mentioned in the letters by Richard Hennessy—the founder—nearly 250 years ago,” he said. “A great respect for the supply of cognac because after all, we buy cognac from 1,700 farmers. I’m one of the farmers, too. To get the good quality, you had to be good to [the farmers] and to the consumer—which is most important—and all of the service in between. My grandfather used to tell me, ‘Maurice, you can very much survive without cognac. To make sure that people carry on buying cognac, you must make it good. We must be nice to the consumer and to the customer.”

The Roots, Q-Tip, Nas are among Hip Hop artists previously featured in Hennessy campaigns. In 2013, Hennessy tapped Brazilian street artists Os Gemeos to design a limited edition bottle.

When asked by HipHopDX which campaign is the most memorable, Maurice Hennessy cited the limited edition bottle created in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary as well as a fundraising campaign in conjunction with Kenya’s 50th anniversary.  

“You can’t imagine the success,” he said. “For them, they were proud to be free for 50 years. It was very touching. We did the same thing in Kenya. In December we celebrated their 50-year anniversary with Hennessy. It’s more than selling bottles. In Kenya we did a big sale and people who could afford it bought special bottles with special numbers. All of the money went to an amazing charity in Nairobi. It was fantastic to be a part of that. This is what we can do with Hennessy. It’s more fun than doing key rings or whatever.”

Hennessy was founded by Richard Hennessy in 1765.   

View images from the event below. 

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