France's famed Hennessy, maker of the world's finest cognac for over 250 years, has unveiled a cool new collaboration with acclaimed media artist and director Refik Anadol on a limited edition of its V.S.O.P Privilège expression. Anadol employed ultra-high-tech methods to interpret the iconic cognac house's heritage and tradition in the age of Artificial Intelligence.
As a result of the collaboration, Anadol created a three-dimensional data sculpture and immersive audio-visual installation, which he then used as the basis for the limited-edition V.S.O.P Privilège carafe and gift box, which comes with a QR code so buyers can partake of the full experience.
The Los Angeles-based innovator received carte blanche to "create a contemporary masterpiece celebrating the iconic V.S.O.P Privilège blend" at the start of the project. Upon touring the Hennessy estate and Founder’s Cellar in Cognac, France, Anadol "became fascinated by the contrast between Hennessy’s tradition of transmitting savoir-faire, generation after generation, as compared to the new frontiers of artificial intelligence," the brand notes.
In an unprecedented move, Hennessy Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde and his colleagues on the maison's hallowed Tasting Committee allowed Anadol to track their experience, sensations, and appreciations while sampling eaux-de-vie in real time, using highly specialized electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment typically reserved for laboratory research. The eaux-de-vie they selected while being monitored will ultimately end up in V.S.O.P Privilège's coveted blend.
Back in his California studio, Refik Anadol and his team filtered the neuroscientific data "through sophisticated analytics, transforming it into pigments and light." What emerged, the artist says, was an “architecture of memory" that allowed him to express the artistry and emotion that goes into creating the beautifully balanced V.S.O.P Privilège blend, as an unprecedented work of art. He then reinterpreted it on a smaller scale for the carafe and gift box.
"What was once an invisible sensory experience has suddenly become tangible: the power of balance"—i.e. V.S.O.P Privilège's notes of fruit, vanilla, spice and mild tobacco, all coming together with a seamless perfection—"appears in a harmonious and poetic surface design," as the brand puts it. The full-scale artwork, called Sense of Heritage, will be revealed later this month.