The story of Hennessy X.O for the past 150 years has been that of an odyssey. An odyssey that began in Cognac in 1870 before taking on the world and sharing the greatness of its blend with different cultures, from East to West.
The ‘extra old’ cognac, intended for the inner circle of Maurice Hennessy and cellar master, Emile Fillioux, has become the emblematic blend of the Maison, defining an entire family of cognacs and setting the standard for excellence that lives to this day.
To commemorate Hennessy X.O’s 150th year, the Iconic cognac maker unveiled its collaboration with Frank Gehry, one of the most important architects of our age, famed for always being open to experimentation and defying categorization.
Inspired by the Charente River and the multi-faceted experience of the blend, Gehry has created an X.O masterpiece carafe that reflects the iconic and meaningful stature of Hennessy X.O to celebrate this milestone. According to Gehry, he had to immerse himself within the history and creativity involved in Hennessy X.O “At first it sounds mystical, but then you go there (Cognac), and experience all that goes into its creation, you see the location on the Charente River, and there’s something magical about it”. A common feature of Frank Gehry designs is the need to establish presence. “It was important to me that it is handmade. Every step in creating Hennessy is handmade, and I wanted everyone to understand how special it is. I tried to create something that has feeling. To take the enormous amount of feeling that goes into making this cognac- all the people involved, all the history involved and express it so somebody who picks up a bottle gets a sense of all that gravitas. It’s sort of a symbol of beauty and human expression, that can be transferred forever. Whenever you pick up the bottle, you are curious about the cognac”.
The choice of materials for the Anniversary bottles are glass and bronze. The glass sculpture cracks beautifully when removed from the oven and the bronze mold is handmade, so that when the carafe is held, it is able to evoke emotions from all the centuries past.
Mr. Gehry identifies Hennessy as a powerful brand that has existed for a very long time, a symbol that resonates the joy and expression of a lot of people making something beautiful. He describes his collaboration as the very specialness of making art, especially with a brand with integrity. Cognac making is an art, and this contribution of love and attention is to add joy to lives, even in the smallest way. “Hennessy X.O is the cognac for every occasion. Its timelessness means that it exists in a realm beyond fashion”
Mr. Gehry recognizes the contribution of taste, smell and feeling to the inspiration for his design “ All you have to do is open the cap and smell the liquid”. This is testament to the multisensorial experience which has been parsed into seven distinct chapters that flow seamlessly into one another. While these perceptions tend to vary depending on each person’s individual palate and understanding, they typically unfold as sweet notes, flowing flame, rising heat, chocolate lull, spicy edge, wooden crunches and an infinite echo.
The leader in Cognac, the Maison Hennessy has shined around the world with its exceptional blends for more than 250 years. Built on founder Richard Hennessy’s spirit of conquest, the brand is present in more than 160 countries.
Based in the heart of the Charente region, Hennessy is also a steadfast pillar of the regional economy, the standard-bearer for a sector rich in expertise. The House’s success and longevity are rooted in the excellence of its cognacs, each of which is born of a unique process of transmission from generation to generation.