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Preserving heritage in the age of artificial intelligence

“In a world where everything is artificial, Hennessy is striving to create something tangible by using human senses,” says artist Refik Anadol, revealing the core of his fascination with the Maison’s tradition of imparting savoir-faire.

Preserving heritage in the age of machine intelligence

In a ground-breaking collaboration, Hennessy welcomed 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 artificial intelligence to create an unprecedented work of art.

“I asked if we could record their sensory experiences at the moment of tasting, while the Tasting Committee was doing what they’ve done for 250 years. They immediately agreed. Same environment, same eaux-de-vies, everything, but now we can see what’s going on in their minds and bodies, what they’re feeling exactly. We can measure the data, validate it, and use it as input – or pigments – for a work of art. We can create art with their senses, their memories, their dreams.”

A plug-and-play in Cognac

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The high-tech equipment
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The high-tech equipment

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Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, during the traditional 11am meeting
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Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, during the traditional 11am meeting

In keeping with Hennessy's traditions, the Los Angeles-based artist got carte blanche to create a contemporary masterpiece celebrating the iconic V.S.O.P Privilège cognac 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.

Refik Andol in Cognac

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Drawing inspiration from the cellar
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Drawing inspiration from the cellar

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Mr. Andol preparing to capture the Tasting Committees sensory experiences
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Mr. Andol preparing to capture the Tasting Committees sensory experiences

“The years of gene memory that Renaud Fillioux de Gironde possesses is humanly important: it’s heritage and DNA. This incredible knowledge turns into wisdom, and material becomes the wisdom. For me, data is a memory, and memory is heritage. And that’s the moment the magic happens.”

Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège cognac boldly recasts the Maison’s savoir-faire in an unexpected new dimension, illuminating the answer to Mr. Anadol’s age-old question: this is how to preserve heritage in the age of machine intelligence."

HENNESSY X REFIK ANADOL

Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège is a balanced cognac, expressing 200 years of Hennessy's know-how. The fruit of nature’s uncertainties, this unique blend has tamed the elements to craft and embody the original concept of cognac. The emotion awakened by the pleasure of tasting it continually reveals new facets of its personality. 

The savoir-faire of the Maison Hennessy is fully expressed in this balanced cognac: the selection of eaux-de-vie, aging and assemblage. A cognac of remarkable consistency and vitality, Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège conveys all of the savoir-faire of the Hennessy master blenders who have ensured the continued success of this harmonious assemblage for 200 years.