In a groundbreaking collaboration, Hennessy welcomed the pioneer and acclaimed media artist and director Refik Anadol to its historic seat in Cognac, France, to observe the Tasting Committee at work. It marked the first time in the Maison’s history that an artist was allowed to capture that time-honored ritual real-time via neuroscientific research methods, and to use the collected data in collaboration with machine intelligence to create an unprecedented work of art.
In keeping with Hennessy tradition, the Los Angeles-based artist received carte blanche to create a contemporary masterpiece celebrating the iconic V.S.O.P Privilège blend. Upon touring the Hennessy estate and Founder’s Cellar, he 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.
Enduring mastery and new modes of expression came together in an extraordinary convergence. In an experiment borrowed from another realm, the Hennessy Tasting Committee consented to “open up their minds” to a completely unconventional experiment. Outfitted in high-tech equipment, Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde and his colleagues allowed Refik Anadol to track their emotions in real time, capturing their experience, sensations, and appreciations of eaux-de-vie.
Using 3D data mapping, Refik Anadol interpreted and transcribed the Tasting Committee’s emotions into the color, shapes, reliefs and textures that appear on the 2021 Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Limited Edition. What was once an invisible sensory experience has suddenly become tangible: the power of balance appears in a harmonious and poetic surface design.
“With help from machine intelligence, we embarked on a journey through gene memories and dreams. Neuro-scientifically, the Tasting Committee is the source of memory, dreaming about the future,” he says.