Who better to introduce the masterpiece that is the Hennessy VSOP X Refik Anadol limited edition bottle than Jordan Bushell, the maison’s global brand ambassador.
With his background in mixology, we were even treated to a fun cocktail making session during the reveal of the 2021 Hennessy VSOP Privilege Limited Edition.
Maison Hennessy have always preserved its more than 250-years of history and DNA, and continue to present it in a myriad of beautiful ways; evident in the Hennessy VSOP X Refix Anadol design – seen below.
Refik Anadol perpetuates the rich legacy of maison Hennessy’s master blenders with a showcase of colours and textures seen and felt on the 2021 Hennessy VSOP Privilege Limited Edition.
“Artists are always pushing boundaries whether it be musically, theatrically, visually, or in something like what Refik is doing – mixed media,” Jordan Bushell shares. Refik Anadol collects and uses data to design digital artworks, and to him, the world is a huge database – everything interconnects with each other and inspires him.
When maison Hennessy invited Refik over to France to design the packaging, he got to explore a new source of inspiration, which is the birth of VSOP itself. He was inspired as he saw the tasting committee selects the eaux-de-vie to form the blends year after year, while achieving the same amazing alchemy. Refik then decided then to create a masterpiece based on Hennessy’s intangible memory.
Thus using 3D data mapping, he captured data from the tasting committee’s minds, as they went about smelling and tasting the eaux-de-vies. Then his team and him transformed the data into pigments, which was then showcased in the Sense of Heritage – an infinity room which provides a deep and stirring dive into Hennessy’s legacy. The one-of-a-kind immersive experience was then transferred onto an object within the physical realm, which led his poetic packaging for the 2021 Hennessy VSOP Privilege Limited Edition.
We also got more input from Jordan Bushell himself, on the Hennessy VSOP X Refik Anadol creation over a virtual cocktail session, with a recipe created by Jordan himself.
1. Name your all-time favourite VSOP cocktail which is simple to make.
I’ll give you two, because one is really simple, which I find myself reaching to the most, it’s simply a VSOP highball. All you need is 45ml of Hennessy VSOP, topped with club soda or sparkling water with an orange twist, which is super refreshing. Then when I want to take that up a notch I can add like teas or other different flavours to lengthen the flavours.
Another favourite of mine is a classic sazerac; it works really well with VSOP but is on a stronger spectrum, whereas the highball is really light and refreshing.
2. What was the inspiration behind the cocktail you created for the Hennessy VSOP X Refik Anadol design reveal?
We wanted to bring to life Refik’s work, of mapping the minds of our tasting committee, which is very ethereal, and we wanted to have a representation of it. We used beets to create a colour match with Refik’s choice, while ginger added a brightness to the beet while adding a little spice to the cognac, on top of the rose water which gives a floral hint to the drink. It all complements Hennessy well, with that red coming together.
3. Tell us a little bit about your history; how did you become the global ambassador for Hennessy VSOP?
I’ve been in the industry for about 21 years. I may not look that old, but it’s all just moisturiser holding me together.
I fell in love with this industry because it represents so much of what’s good with society, as people come together to enjoy a drink. There’s a lot of celebration when it comes to going to a bar or a restaurant. And I loved meeting new people and educating them on alcohol as I learned more about it, and trying to find the right drink for them.
Along that path I got into cocktail competitions, which gave me an outlet for creativity, and that led me to join the Belvedere Dream Job competition, which I didn’t win, but Hennessy approached me to do some work with them, which led me to becoming the national ambassador in the US. Then I did some work with the global team, which then lead me to where I’m. And fun fact, my dog back then, her name was Hennessy too; talk about coincidences!
4. How does Hennessy stay ahead while sticking true to its roots?
Well we stay ahead because we look at the arts as a collaborative partner, and we experiment with different ingredients and move into different areas, like with Refik. Then our master blender too is an artist in his own right. By taking the different blends and mixing them together, to create the perfect flavour, which is grounded in our history. That helps us stay ahead because we’re never going to settle just because we make great cognac.
5. How do you convince a purist that VSOP can be used for cocktails?
My job is to create something that you’ll enjoy, and we all know that Hennessy VSOP is amazing, and if you want to drink it neat, great, that makes my job super easy. All I need to do is pour it in a glass and hand it to you.
But if you’re not into cognac, or not a neat spirits drinker, then a cocktail is the direction for them. Or perhaps the cocktail works better with specific food you’re eating. So a cocktail takes you in a new direction but with the same base, and can help introduce you to flavour you didn’t think you’d like. Just delve into what you love.
6. What are your thoughts on the collaboration between Hennessy VSOP and Refik Anadol?
I love it, because it’s pushing art in a lot of ways and it’s also pushing us from a sensorial side. When I look at hospitality, it’s moving in a direction where it has to be entertaining. The younger generation is not looking for the same things the generations past have looked for. They’re looking for a true experience, and if you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on something, that bar or restaurant better provide something entertaining to you. So that’s where clever garnishing, rituals and visuals come into play.
And there’s something about what Refik has done which really helps to see into someone’s mind, and which will hopefully connect with people to help them understand what the tasting committee is experiencing in a small way. I definitely love the collaboration and is super interesting.
Learn more about the Hennessy VSOP Privilege Refik Anadol Limited Edition at the official Hennessy website here.