CL WorldBrands has launched Hine Antique XO Cognac at this week's Vinexpo wine show, putting its faith in Cognac lovers' willingness to continue spending money on luxury drinks in the economic downturn.

Priced at around EUR150, Hine Antique XO is a blend of 40 Champagne Cognacs and is set to be the flagship Hine Cognac around the world, Jacques Lelli, commercial director for Hine, told just-drinks at Vinexpo in Bordeaux.

The Cognac is being launched worlwide over the next few months and will enter duty free in September.

Lelli remained confident when questioned about the strategy of launching an XO Champagne Cognac Premier Cru during one the worst economic downturns the world has known for at least a generation.

"We have always positioned ourselves at the high end. For us, it is not about volumes."

He added: "We do not sell Hine in supermarkets, only in distribution channels that are carefully selected. You will find it in bars, restaurants and boutiques, not in Carrefour [the world's thid largest supermarket chain]."