Fake Henny

Fake Hennessy: How To Spot It

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Luke is a Level I Certified Whiskey Specialist with a passion for exploring and unearthing the best whiskeys around. Luke has a preference for Rye whiskeys but has tasted over 250 different whiskeys to date varying from bourbons to scotches. He continues to expand upon his whiskey knowledge by tasting dozens of bottles monthly and reviewing them here on Barrel and Brew as he pursues his Masters of Whiskey certification.

Over the last couple years fake Hennessy has been a way for scammers and con artists to make money. They are distilling their own liquor and selling it in Hennessy bottles. We’re here to cue you in on the best ways to spot fake Henny because it’s not only unethical but potentially dangerous. This isn’t your college fraternity pouring Smirnoff into Grey Goose bottles – distilled alcohol can be quite dangerous if not done properly.

Distilling your own liquor is even illegal in the US. While you can brew your own beer, vinify wine, or even make your own mead from the comfort of your home, you cannot distill alcohol. It’s dangerous on multiple accounts. First, you are combining alcohol vapor and heat which can cause fires and explosions. Second, if you don’t distill the liquor properly, it can be life-threatening to drink.

Fake Hennessy has been commonly sold in Nigeria; however, it’s important to ‘in the know’ since it can happen anywhere.

Fake Hennessy

5 Ways to Spot Fake Hennessy

There have been many reported deaths resulting from drinking fake alcohol and Hennessy is a popular choice, so we’re here to help. Below are the best ways to spot fake Hennessy. If you’re interested in learning more about real cognac, check out our Hennessy vs D’ussé Guide.


At some point in your life someone has told you “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. Well, I’m going to tell you again. Cognac is not a cheap spirit to make. Not only does it have aging requirements, it also has to be produced in the Cognac region of France. Add to the fact that Hennessy is not a cheap option for Cognac either.

A 750ml of Hennessy VS is usually in the $40-50 range, and VSOP is closer to $60. A 750 of Hennessy XO costs upwards of $200, and it gets more expensive with XXO and Paradis. If someone is offering you a $200 bottle for $50, it’s probably too good to be true.

This may not be the easiest way to tell if the Henny is truly fake because they can sell a bottle for retail price. However, if the price doesn’t match it’s an immediate and obvious red flag.

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2. The Cork

Liquor companies, including Hennessy, do everything they can to ensure no oxygen or any other particles get into the bottle after its production. If the cork is loose, if you can wobble it around its probably been homemade. Hennessy uses laser protection and a Holosleeve hologram to seal their bottles, so it is very unlikely that someone will be able to provide such a snug cork on a counterfeit bottle.

3. NAFDAC Registration Number

NAFDAC stands for National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control. On the back of every bottle of Hennessy there should be a NAFDAC registration number. If not, you are dealing with a counterfeit.

4. The Bottle

One way to tell if Hennessy is fake or real is the bottle. Hennessy uses laser engravings, so the glass bottle should protrude in certain spots. One of these spots is the front of the bottle below the label. Hennessy VS bottles have a “1785” engraving, so you should be able to feel these numbers on it. Another part of the bottle to look out for is the label. The label should be written in clear English with nice letters. If the label has a foreign language or blurry letters, it’s fake. The leaves around the label should also be textured.

The excise stamp is another piece you should pay attention to. Hennessy is most notable sold in 375ml and 75o ml bottles, and the stamp will tell you the volume. It’s important to know what the original bottles look like, so below we’ll add a picture. If you want to see a video, check out this YouTube video.

Fake Henny

5. Color.

The color of fake Hennessey has been described as “weak tea mixed with lemon”. Real Hennessy will have a clear amber hue. It will look much more rich than an imitation.

Fake Hennessy Summary

As we mentioned, fake Hennessy has been reported a most often in Nigeria, but it can happen anywhere. It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to real vs fake Hennessy because improperly distilled liquor is life-threatening. So, before you buy liquor from just anyone, make sure to take a harder look at the product. Is it labeled correctly? Is it being sold at a huge discount? Does it look right? Does it have a registration number on the back? Is the cork air-tight? These are all things you should be asking yourself before you buy a bottle from an unknown source.

The best way you can avoid purchasing and drinking fake Henny is to know where and who you are buying from. Make sure they are running a legit business before you hand over any money to them.

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