Cool Collab: Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège X Refik Anadol

WORDS Cheri Morris

The 2021 Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Limited Edition by Refik Anadol is a journey through gene memories and dreams with artwork inspired by electroencephalogram sensorial data collected from Tasting Committee members as they evaluated a selection of eaux-de-vie.

Acclaimed media artist and director Refik Anadol travelled to Cognac, France to observe the Tasting Committee at work. This was the first time in Maison’s history that an artist was allowed to capture the time-honoured ritual via neuroscientific research methods, and to use the collected data in collaboration with machine intelligence to create a wholly unique piece of art.

Refik outfitted Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde and his colleagues in a specialised electroencephalogram (EEG) and tracked their physiology – evidence of emotions, experiences and sensations – as they evaluated a selection of eaux-de-vie destined for Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège. Considering the ritual has remained unchanged for generations, Refik describes his EEG readings as a merger of past and present, “a near-future experience, in real-time.”

Cool Collab: Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège X Refik Anadol

“Emotion lives in the senses, on the skin, in the heart, and in the mind – and with this hypersensitive equipment, we are able to trace everything, down to the movement of the glass,” Refik explains. “You can see heritage and savoir-faire become visible and observe how the material actually becomes the wisdom.”

Back in his California studio, Refik and his team filtered and analysed the true data – two centuries’ worth of living memory – and transformed it into pigments and light. The result? A harmonious dialogue, an “architecture of memory”, that was remarkably consistent across each member of the Tasting Committee at a specific point in time.

The 2021 Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Limited Edition will be available in Makro stores nationwide from 1 November 2021. 

Love this design? Check out our Q&A with multidisciplinary street and studio artist FaithXLVII on her collaboration with Hennessy Very Special here.