Hennessy was founded in 1765 by the Irish aristocrat, Richard Hennessy. Hennessy had served with the French forces and the company began as an eaux-de-vie trader based in Cognac. He based his company on the land he had been granted by King Louis XV as compensation for his mercenary work. The brand grew under the ownership of Richard’s son, James. The original master blender was Jean Fillioux, who joined the company in 1800. The brand became a popular choice among the landed gentry; George IV ordered a bottle of Hennessy VSOP in 1817. The age-statement designations were created by Maurice Hennessy in 1865 and three years later bottles were exported to Japan for the first time. Hennessy continued to enjoy success through the 20th century and in 1967, twelve million bottles were sold. In 1971, Hennessy merged with Moët et Chandon, creating the Moët-Hennessy group. A second merger in 1987 with Louis Vuitton bore today’s luxury super-brand – Louis Vuitton-Moët-Hennessy. Hennessy cognac is now a symbol of luxury and is often cited in modern culture, particularly in hip hop.