The ‘point of elegance’ is the occasion where everything comes together at the exact right moment. For Maison Hennessy, it’s when the art of alchemy meets the art of selection; for international artist Arik Levy, whose exquisitely designed new crystal decanter serves as a vessel for the finest Hennessy blend, Paradis Impérial, it’s the moment when you cannot add or subtract anything from a creation; and for Maison Louis Vuitton, it’s when heritage, expressions of creativity, and the art of travel harmonize into a perfectly tailored masterpiece, such as the Hennessy Paradis Impérial Trunk and Nomad Case.
It’s about time Paradis Impérial gets its place in the spotlight. For more than two centuries, an unbroken family of Master Blenders—the Fillioux family—has been cultivating, aging, tasting, and watching over the Hennessy family’s vineyards and eaux-de-vie library to assess future potential and to determine the best blends, the proper timing, and the best aging methods. Of the 10,000 eaux-de-vie in any given harvest, only 10 have the potential to one day join the impeccable blend of Paradis Impérial. Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, the eighth-generation Master Blender, works with a multi-generational tasting committee to do just that. With a visionary spirit, he draws on his own knowledge and emotions while on the quest to find the piece de resistance.
And, finally, it is here—the rework of Paradis Impérial—strong in heritage, ready to bask in its newfound glory. Moët Hennessy gave quite the introduction.
The setting for the rerelease of Paradis Impérial, its opulent new decanter, and tribute bespoke Louis Vuitton travel trunk was stunning. Hennessy took to Shanghai to honor the special Cognac’s legacy while freshening its look and giving it an artisanal trunk symbolic of the discerning drinker’s taste for travel and adventure. The ensemble embodies a lifestyle and a way of looking at the world—sharing values of tradition, authenticity, and quality with a passion for precision and elegance.
Best known as ‘the Paris of the Far East,’ Shanghai was the ideal place for the Discovery Tour that took a distinct group of guests and international media on a journey to explore these extraordinary works of craftsmanship. This is a city deeply rooted in tradition yet open to a world of innovation and a Hennessy-style appreciation of the French art de vivre. It was nearly 150 years ago when Hennessy was first imported to China. The connection between the Cognac house and its dynamic Asian counterpoint naturally made sense as both share a convergence of past and present, tradition and innovation to create new pathways to the future.
Hennessy’s obsession with excellence is apparent in everything they do. There is a heavy emphasis on creating both a conceptual and an emotional connection to their approach, which is why the collaboration with artist Arik Levy was ideal. “Arik does not do anything by chance. Everything is extremely intellectualized. When he designed the facets of the carafe, it wasn’t just to create attention. It was also a way to almost make it like a diamond. The crystal refracts light on the blend,” said Bernard Peillon, chairman & CEO Hennessy.
The emotional connection, though, plays an even bigger role in Levy’s philosophy when designing any of his works and installations—which can be seen at prestigious galleries and museums worldwide. Levy is an artist who feels the world is about people, not objects. “When you come into action with the carafe, then you are igniting the whole system of generosity, exchange, feelings, friendship, family, tension or relaxation, and this is through a service ceremony and its different tools, each of which is treated like a sculpture.”
The celebration in honor of Paradis Impérial and its ensemble was all about embracing this emotional connection. It truly was a sensual adventure starting with the unveiling of the Louis Vuitton trunk, which was designed to hold four magnums of Paradis Impérial, along with exclusive crystal vials and tulip glasses for tasting, and a single-magnum travel case nestled within the body of the trunk; a configuration allowing as many as 18 people to appreciate the Cognac experience together.
Guests were then treated to the most exquisite tasting menu paired with the star of the show, Paradis Impérial—a graceful Cognac blend with a light structure and unique golden hue that features a delicate bouquet of crisp floral notes tinged with a smoky, spicy accent. This entrancingly luscious blend was transported in Levy’s striking vessel that balances curve and tension with a thoughtful faceted design. The greatest moment of the evening came with the service ritual where each guest, by their own hand, poured the premium Cognac from a crystal vial into their tasting glass creating a personal intimacy with the moment.
Just as cigar aficionados seek out the perfect balance of flavors and musicians listen for the perfect pitch, the Hennessy Master Blender and Cognac enthusiasts around the world search for the crown jewel of eaux-de-vie blends that has reached the ‘point of elegance.’
Travel to Cognac to enjoy a special tour of the Founder’s Cellar and a Paradis Impérial tasting from April to October by reservation.