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Hennessy Unveils A $7,000 Bottle Designed By Legendary Architect Daniel Libeskind

Hennessy Unveils A $7,000 Bottle Designed By Legendary Architect Daniel Libeskind

With his style of using sharp angles and asymmetrical planes, Architect Daniel Libeskind's designs have ranged from the new World Trade Center site to the Jewish Museum in Berlin and Denver Art Museum. His latest work however showcases a much smaller treasure, the redesigned bottle of Richard Hennessy, the cognac distiller's namesake tribute to its founder.

"This is the perfect time to drink cognac," says Hennessy Master Blender Renaud Fillioux de Gironde on a rainy New York morning. There's a direct view of the Statue of Liberty from his hotel Presidential Suite, but he wants to draw attention to the other architectural marvel in the room. The Libeskind-designed bottle is visually stunning: a clear Baccarat glass curved bottle filled with amber liquid housed inside an irregular five-sided glass plane. "On the outside you have Libeskind and on the inside you have Richard," says Fillioux de Gironde, "it's a masterpiece within a masterpiece."

Along with the bottle, Libeskind also designed a showcase tray to display the Richard, a fusil to extract and pour the cognac and tasting glasses that, like the bottle, are traditionally tulip-shaped, but framed by sharped angles on the bottom. One special touch of the glass is a rectangular lower plane angled back towards you, creating a golden reflection that hovers in the middle of clear glass and air.

Why the new design? "It's important when you have a beautiful product to keep the energy going," says Fillioux de Gironde. "We use the term 'Architect of Enternity' because we have created something that has lived for 250 years and will continue for 250 more. And the design of Daniel Libeskind is both contemporary and futuristic."

When Fillioux de Gironde speaks of 250 years of the Hennessy brand he is also referring to his own family history. Although the two families are not related and have not intermarried, a member of Fillioux family has always been the Master Blender for the Hennessy family since the early 1800s. Renaud Fillioux de Gironde is the 8th generation to take over the position. And part of that legacy is working with aged barrels of eaux de vie made by his ancestors and preparing his own for future generations.

"When I blend it's with plenty of emotions," says Fillioux de Gironde. "I may use eau de vie from a hundred years ago, made by my great-grandfather whom I never met. I'm proud to pay tribute, but I'm also sad because I'm using up part of our treasures. That's the way it is with cognac. We follow them and prepare for the next generations. A huge part of my job is to prepare things I won't see."

The Richard Hennessy is made from a blend of over 100 eaux de vie, some more than a century old, but Fillioux de Gironde insists that's not all that matters. "It's not just a question of age, it's making the right decisions over the whole life of the eau de vie. We taste over 10,000 samples every year. We taste the same ones over time to see how they evolve. You don't take a picture of a baby and know what's it's going to look like in ten years. You take a picture once a year."

Even the finished Richard Hennessy is something that needs to be tasted over time. "It's like a person, you need to spend time with him to truly know him and have a conversation," says Fillioux de Gironde. "Each time you have it you discover something new."

The Richard Hennessy Decanter Designed by Daniel Libeskind is available for $7000. To purchase, contact Hennessy and request to speak to Private Client Services. The Showcase Tray, Fusil and Glasses are also available to purchase separately.

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