The Hennessy Paradis Impérial, whose brand story evokes both history and finesse, does more than just coat your palate with an elegant, fine blend. The merest whiff of its fresh bouquet conjures up images of a pure, crisp spring day in the Provençal hills between sea and mountains. Like a merry companion, it has the ability to set a season, the mood at the dining table, or deliver the promise of joie de vivre. The Hennessy Paradis Impérial is quintessentially a shorthand for celebration in a glass.
They say only the finest narrator can turn a story into a page-turner. Hennessy, the unrivalled market leader and one of the top high-end spirits brands in the world, has written new, fascinating chapters in the story of cognac while still paying tribute to the history that shaped this sophisticated French spirit. The Hennessy Paradis Impérial, a contemporary creation by Yann Fillioux, illustrates the brand’s relentless quest for excellence throughout eight generation of Master Blenders from the Fillioux family.
The House has a strict intolerance for imperfection, as evidenced in the Hennessy Paradis Impérial, which is a blend of only first-rate eaux-de-vie, singled out immediately after their distillation. These exceptional eaux-de-vie, which represent less than 1% of the eaux-de-vie of a given vintage at the original selection, mature between 30 and 130 years old in older barrels to soften the effect of the wood on the cognac’s colour and flavour. After this maturation process, only one out of 1,000 eaux-de-vie of a given vintage will become part of the Hennessy Paradis Impérial blend.
A full-bodied cognac is a wonderful accompaniment to many dishes and it need not be relegated to special occasions only. The usual pairing between cognac and rich food, like foie gras or cheese, were thought to belong together as surely as say, champagne and strawberries. But the food pairing at DC Restaurant, curated by French-trained Chef Darren Chin, proved that a little contrast — a subtle touch of disharmony — can afford a few surprises.
Vegetables are often used as a matchmaker, a foil to bring the flavours of the mains into focus. Chin, however, has given the white asparagus from the Sud-Ouest wine region of France top billing. What better way to start a seven-course menu than with a seasonal ingredient — in all its ivory glory — that heralds the arrival of spring?
The menu also gives diners a taste of the sea. Whole Hokkaido live uni topped with truffled eggs of vegetal emulsion evokes the briny flavours of caviar, but the luscious, wobbly texture of a pudding. Served right from the shell, its freshness is hard to beat. Chin also takes the cue from the late Chef Paul Bocuse, who often extolled the simplicity of fresh ingredients. A gently assembled red mullet dish, crowned with slightly crisped potato scales and speckled with dollops of orange and wild flower honey sauce on the side, reads like a loving homage to Bocuse’s much-lauded nouvelle cuisine.
While fresh ingredients are true stars of the show, it takes a talent like Chin to unlock all they had to offer. The Magret de Canard served with pureed beets and blood orange jus, as well as the butter-tender Kyushu Japanese Wagyu Rump, fully demonstrates the chef’s wide-ranging repertoire, keen sensitivity to flavours and a penchant for exuberant swipes of colour. The visually arresting desserts, whether you opt for the Spring Gariguette French strawberries and rhubarb, or the meringue with black sesame panna cotta, trigger a sense of wonder and imagination.
Although most dishes are paired with the chef’s choice of pour, either a glass of Dom Pérignon 2009 or Cloudy Bay Te Koko Sauvignon Blanc, the greatest highlight comes at the end, when a bottle of Hennessy Paradis Impérial makes an appearance. Served as a digestif, the Hennessy Paradis Impérial, imbued with notes of jasmine, orange blossom, freshly cut grass and oak, provides a sensational end to a stellar meal.
Summarising the specially designed menu for this gastronomic experience, Chin says, “The menu caters to the intricacies and sophistication that comes with the Hennessy Paradis Impérial. To reinvent the essence of it, the menu uses the same unique processes that comes into the creation of Hennessy Paradis Impérial, replicated to match its high standards.”
This showcase is available to the public for dinner until July 31, every Tuesday to Sunday, at DC Restaurant. For reservations, contact 03 7731 0502 or visit the website. RM998 per pax.