Unveiling the Origins of 'Are You Experienced': Jimi Hendrix's Serendipitous Brew in Brussels

In 1967, when the legendary Jimi Hendrix took up residence at the Central Hotel in Brussels—now known as the Marriott Hotel—a fascinating anecdote unfolded that would become a piece of rock history. Just across the street from the hotel, in Le Coq, Hendrix frequented a quaint café during his stay.

One noteworthy visit saw him sipping on a now-extinct beer called Leopold. It was in this café that a young and aspiring rock journalist, Jean-Noël Coghe, entered the scene. Coghe, then just 20 years old, played a pivotal role in the early days of rock journalism in Belgium and found himself accompanying Hendrix on tour for a few unforgettable days.

On that particular day, Coghe met Hendrix in the café and escorted him to TV recordings. Little did he know that this encounter would leave an indelible mark on music history. Hendrix, in a moment of inspiration, scribbled something on a humble beer mat during his time at the café. Without much thought, Coghe tucked it away in his pocket.

Only later did Coghe realize the significance of the artifact he had unwittingly acquired—a beer mat adorned with the words "Are You Experienced" in bold, round graffiti letters. Astonishingly, just a month later, Jimi Hendrix released his debut album under the same name. Was it mere chance, or did Hendrix, in the quaint surroundings of Le Coq, decide upon the title for his groundbreaking record?

Jean-Noël Coghe firmly believes in the latter, convinced that Hendrix's creative muse struck in that Belgian café. The cherished beer mat remains in Coghe's possession to this day, a tangible link to the moment when music history and happenstance collided in the heart of Brussels.