Celebrate An Odyssey of Senses With Hennessy X.O

The age-old liquor brand pulls out all the stops to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of its Extra Old cognac. 
Tuesday 6 October 2020
All that glitters is gold with Frank Gehry's limited edition masterpiece decanter for Hennessy X.O. Photo: Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia

There is a history of this magnificent cognac and it spans over 150 years. Maurice Hennessy crafted the Hennessy X.O masterpiece in 1870 for his close circle of friends, and we bet you don’t have a fine cognac sitting around to just pull out and impress your peers. In creating this extra old cognac, the brand had introduced a new style into the market. 

Now over a hundred years later, people enjoy this luxurious liquor all around the world, especially right here in Malaysia. Hennessy is well-loved in this country typically by the older crowd, but it would seem that that is changing as a cognac as fine as this never really goes out of fashion. 


Celebrating a wonderfully rich cognac in style. Photo: Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia


This year, to celebrate this landmark anniversary, Hennessy prepared a spectacular event while being mindful still of the wary times we are in, and set up a daytime firework show all the way in France by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. 

At a time where the world is more separated than ever and with travel so restricted because of the virus, we have opened up a whole new style of celebrating. In a small event space in Petaling Jaya, a selected group of Malaysians were transported to another country where an artist all the way from New York showed of his deep and meaningful yet vibrantly colourful display of firework art. 


With smoky hints of fruit and chocolate, this Extra Old Cognac is smooth as honey down the throat. Photo: Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia


Guo-Qiang is well known for his calligraphy style as well as the use of western painting techniques. He was exposed to the social effects of China’s cultural revolution where explosions were commonplace, and this influenced much of his work. It’s said that during this time he was introduced to the destructive and yet also restorative uses of gunpowder, thus beginning his long and intriguing journey with the medium in his craft. 



For Hennessy, the artist set up a daytime fireworks display along the impressive 381km Charente river in France that Maison Hennessy sits on. In 15 minutes, Guo-Qiang captivated audiences across the world with his three-act artistic odyssey that was an explosion of drama, poetry, bright colours as well as deep emotion. 

He launched his non-toxic, reduced-smoke and CE certified pyrotechnic products from 150 oak barrels floating along the river in his first attempt at daytime aquatic explosives. 


In all, it’s glory, the limited-edition decanter of 24-karat gold. Photo: Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia


Fireworks were not the only thing that Hennessy had in store for its rich cognac. The liquor brand had also commissioned American-Canadian Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry to reimagine the Hennessy XO bottle and create his very own decanter. 

Reimagine, Gehry did. The architect is famous for his deconstructive style of postmodern architecture, where elements of the structure are disjointed and chaotic. He’s known for using corrugated metals to get that almost unfinished look for many of his works. 


The man himself Frank Gehry, famous for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Photo: Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia


It is exactly the feeling that one gets when looking at his design for the 150th Anniversary decanter for Hennessy X.O. It’s shiny, crinkled and loud. Grandiose doesn’t even begin to describe this bottle. To emulate the liquid gold inside the bottle, the outside is wrapped in a bronze cast that is reminiscent of warped metal, dipped 24 karat gold that screams opulence. 


Get close to see the details of this gorgeous rippling gold. Photo: Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia


This rippling effect mimics the way that light reflects off the water surface, which is the feeling Gehry got from looking at the Charente river from Maison Hennessy. Both he and Guo-Qiang found inspiration in the flowing waterbed as well as from the cognac itself to express Hennessy’s 150-year odyssey of the senses. 

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