Hennessy is well known as one of the finest cognac labels even in an industry that’s known for its exacting standards. Since 2007, Hennessy has made it a kind of tradition to launch a new limited edition bottle each year, and these have been highly sought out by collectors and cognac connoisseurs. This year, however, Hennessy has come up with an especially inspired piece called Hennessy X.O. Mathusalem.
At a recent dinner at the Manila Peninsula, Moet-Hennessy introduced Mathusalem to the Manila scene, unveiling the limited edition vintage to an exclusive gathering. Hennessy’s ambassadeur de maison, Jean-Michel Cochet, flew to the Philippines for this express purpose, and told us exactly how special Mathusalem is as a cognac. The flavors, textures, and spirits that go into the process of making Hennessy X.O. are quite remarkable, and all of them create a unique blend of tastes that come together in a six-liter bottle. Mathusalem’s appeal, though, does not lie solely in taste.
For the newest inclusion into Hennessy’s ranks, the brand commissioned Arik Levy -- an Israeli-born designer who is one of the most respected artists in Paris — to create a special kind of case. Levy has worked in a number of artistic fields, from lighting installations to photography, to painting and rockgrowth sculpture. When he was commissioned to design the case for Mathusalem, then, it was from his years of experience where he drewinspiration. Considered a work of art on its own, the Mathusalem case is an asymmetrical construction, designed to elicit perfection through the use of irregular shapes. The design is similar to Levy’s popular sculpture called Rock, which follows a similar line of thought.
The Peninsula did a wonderful job of complementing Hennessy with their specially prepared dishes. Duck Confit and Baked Gorgonzola Souffle with Pear Compote Hazelnut, and Celery, for example, were served to go with the fine vintage. Each dish had been paired with Hennessy X.O., which brought out and defined their tastes.
Among those who sat down to witness the launch were His Excellency Menashe Bar-on and his wife, Mme. Eti, who came to see the work of their fellow Israeli.
Towards the end of the evening, the guests were left with a finer appreciation of the art of making cognac, as well as a deeper understanding of what it takes to craft a limited edition bottle of an already limited liquor. With a price tag of P1.4 million per bottle, though, it’s difficult not to get left with at least a small sense of awe. (Photos by Janice Francisco, Mathusalem snd food photos courtesy of thebaghagdiaries.com)
If you have time this week, do check out Betsy Westendorp’s on going exhibit, “Betsy Westendorp: Portrait of an Artist,” and the bespoke room Architect Ramon Antonio personally designed for her to show viewers how collectors live with Betsy’s art.
Architect Ramon Antonio worked around Ms. Westendorp’s recent atmosferografia series as inspiration and a hand woven wool carpet by Tai Ping.
“Betsy Westendorp: Portrait of an Artist” is on view until February 10 only at Manila Contemporary, 2314 Whitespace, Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension (formerly Pasong Tamo Extension), Makati City.
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