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Refik Anadol x Hennessy VSOP Carafe: Where Neuro-Science Meets Cognac

For the first time ever, Hennessey allowed an artist to sit in on all the tastings and chronicle the process. That artist was Refik Anadol, who is known for his work in media as well as the aesthetics of data and machine intelligence. Now, Anadol has unveiled his creation, a truly stunning adaption of the spirit, reflected in the Hennessy x Refik Anadol VSOP Carafe.

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“For me, data is memory, and memory is heritage,” says Anadol. “And, I’m trying to find these collective memories for humanity which would represent heritage for humanity. So, I think there’s a common respect we have for heritage when thinking about and producing experiences. The other thing is caring about the uniqueness and craftsmanship—that’s something I respect a lot.”

Anadol pulled on certain memories to create the new carafe, including past Hennessy collaborations, especially those with Frank Ghery and Ridley Scott. He also relied heavily on his observations of the emotions and reactions to the tastings of the cognac. Anadol used 3D data mapping to interpret and transcribe the committee’s emotions, changing them into colours, shapes, reliefs, and textures.

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“Emotion lives in the senses, on the skin, in the heart, and in the mind—and with this hyper-sensitive equipment, we are able to trace everything, down to the movement of the glass,” explains Anadol. “You can see heritage and savoir-faire become visible and observe how the material actually becomes the wisdom.” Even before you have a sip of the cognac, you’ll have a visceral experience with the VSOP thanks to the new carafe.

“In our craft, we are constantly classifying, describing, and trying to find exactly the right words to convey our impressions and experiences,” says Renaud Fillious de Gironde, the eight generation Master Blender for Hennessy. Thanks to the masterpiece work of Anadol, those descriptions and classifications go beyond mere words and has become a 3D sculpture literally formed from the data of human experience.

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Mark Jessen

Mr Mark Jessen

Mark Jessen studied English at Brigham Young University, completing a double emphasis in creative writing and professional writing/editing. After graduating, Mark went to work for a small publisher as their book editor. After a brief time as a freelance writer, Mark entered the corporate world as a copywriter. These days, his hours are spent mostly in proofing and editing, though he continues to create content for a wide variety of projects. In 2017, Mark completed UCLA's Creative Writing Certification. A prolific writer, Mark has over 20 years of experience in journalism.