Emblematic French cognac Hennessy X.O is celebrating 150 years of unmatched sensory elegance this year. The blend – originally created by Maurice Hennessy and Emile Fillioux in 1870 as a special curation for their inner circle of friends and family – sets a standard for excellence that lives on to this day.
To mark the 150 years of X.O, and in a time of global transformation and the end of the 2020 harvest, Hennessy commissioned a remarkable World Odyssey. The French cognac collaborated with two creative masterminds who shared the common vision of a hopeful future honouring and amplifying Hennessy Maison’s universal values of joy, optimism and resilience.
This past Friday, acclaimed Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang – known as the Fire Alchemist – told a story of life and rebirth through an epic, ephemeral daytime fireworks live event over Cognac’s Charente River which saw multi-coloured fireworks being launched from 150 oak barrels symbolising the 150-year history of Hennessy X.O. This event was the centrepiece of Hennessy X.O’s 150th anniversary World Odyssey program and was shared with hundreds of thousands globally via livestream – a first for both Guo-Qiang and the Maison.
Alongside Cai Guo-Qiang’s performance, and as a continuation of the 150th celebrations, the Maison also unveiled an exclusive, limited-edition masterpiece decanter designed by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. Known for his boundless designs – including The Guggenheim Bilbao, Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and The Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris – Gehry used his signature sculptural style to reinterpret Hennessy X.O’s iconic bottle, marrying gold and glass to extol the rich legacy of the Hennessy Maison.
“It was an honour to be asked to celebrate this milestone. While I was excited, it was also daunting because a bottle of cognac is already a work of art, one you can smell, taste, and feel—it doesn’t need embellishment as it’s already there. We are showing how we can be creative within that language. There’s such a powerful history and a serious emotional commitment from the people that make this product. It has a resonance that’s interesting to tie into and become a part of,” adds Gehry.
The exclusive limited edition bottle is enveloped in a crinkled sleeve of 24 carat gold-dipped bronze, evoking the radiant movement of water as it reflects the light. The sculptural decanter is encased by a fractured glass glorifier, which further amplifies the inspiration of water and light. To further the experience of the decanter, Gehry created a luminous and beautifully understated fusil made of brass and gold. The device keenly reflects the Hennessy cellar master’s ritual to extract the extra old cognac.
The exclusive, limited run of 150 extraordinary decanters worldwide, imprinted with Frank Gehry’s signature, is available on direct request from Hennessy. Each decanter comes with a price tag of approximately R200K.
A wider release of the limited-edition Hennessy X.O bottles also created by Frank Gehry are available from bottle stores nationwide and through Hennessy.com from R 2 400.