Hennessy X.O is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. To mark this milestone, the Maison asked architect Frank Gehry to reinterpret the timeless bottle containing the exceptional elixir emblematic of Hennessy’s unique savoir-faire.
The creation of Hennessy X.O dates back to 1870. Maurice Hennessy, the fourth-generation member of the Hennessy family at the head of the Maison, and Emile Fillioux, the third generation of his family to become Cellar Master, shared a passion for long-aged eaux-de-vie. They set about to create an exceptional blend with a rich and complex structure, calling it “X.O” for “Extra Old”, one of the first ever such cognacs.
Beyond seasons and decades, the eaux-de-vie that compose Hennessy X.O are selected to create a harmony of notes and balance, chosen by the Master Blender to work seamlessly together. No single eau-de-vie stands out – they all express themselves harmoniously, guaranteeing the timeless spirit and quality of Hennessy X.O for 150 years.
Hennessy X.O is also known for its iconic carafe. When the cognac was first created, it was contained in the “charentaises” bottles that had appeared a few years earlier. The innovative flacon renowned today was born in 1947, when Maurice Hennessy asked his nephew and grandson of James Hennessy, Gérald de Geoffre, just 27 at the time, to design a distinctive bottle for Hennessy X.O. The shape of his new sculpted glass bottle was inspired by an upturned cluster of grapes.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of this exceptional cognac, the Maison asked Frank Gehry – the world-renowned architect whose designs include the Guggenheim Bilbao, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Musée des Beaux-Arts Ontario, the Opus Tower in Hong Kong and the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris – to revisit the iconic carafe.
“I wanted to bring Hennessy X.O.” to life, and so I took inspiration from its birthplace and used this crumpling effect of the material that gives it a feeling of movement. The materials I’ve chosen catch the light and make this a really beautiful object on its own, but then you realize it is a bottle of Hennessy X.O,” explains Frank Gehry.
The collaboration between Frank Gehry and Hennessy has led to several striking creations, including a bottle enveloped in a crinkled sleeve of 24 carat gold-dipped bronze, encased in a sculptural glass glorifier. And to further the experience of the decanter, Frank Gehry has created a brass and gold fusil, reflecting the Hennessy cellar master’s ritual for serving the Extra Old cognac.
This masterpiece is available at the Hennessy store in Cognac in 150 numbered decanters imprinted with Frank Gehry’s signature.
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