At the end of September, autumn begins its cooler descent, and harvest time starts at the Charente region in Cognac, France. It is the decisive moment to see the result from all the hard and determination to grow and care for healthy grapes, which will then ferment to create Hennessy cognac. After 250 years of acclaim with many products loved around the world, the X.O blend celebrated its 150th anniversary in the last week of September. Collaborating with Cai Guo-Qiang, the renowned artist presented a magnificent daytime fireworks show, “A World Odyssey”, live-streamed from the beautiful surroundings of the Charente River. Millions of cognac devotees around the globe join in the art spectacle, which brought an uplifting moment amid the current pandemic.
“In these unprecedented times, what has become particularly clear is that we are one interconnected family. The year 2020 will remain in all our memories for its uncertainty and difficulty,” said Laurent Boillot, chairman and CEO of Hennessy. “But, for the Maison Hennessy, this is also the 150th anniversary year for an iconic cognac, Hennessy X.O. This exceptional performance is a message of hope, and we feel that today, it is our duty to be optimistic.”
Boillot further explained the similarity between Hennessy X.O and the works of Cai Guo-Qiang that starts from their impalpable poetry. Moreover, both the distiller and the artist have a strong commitment to health and environmental protection. In the case of Hennessy, its practices are all about sustaining the earth to protect the consistency of its drinks; meanwhile, Cai only uses non-toxic, CE-certified pyrotechnic products to produce a less-smoke and eco-friendly show. Using his signature gunpowder, each multicoloured fireworks launched from the 150 oak barrels left the crowd in awe with its dramatic explosion.
The 15-minute display was inspired by “The Birth of Tragedy” by Friedrich Nietzsche, which was to acknowledge the difficulty of the current situation while showing respect to the perpetual cycle of creation and destruction. “I wanted to create something vibrant to evoke emotions of optimism and courage,” said Cai. “While the fireworks express my contemplation on tragedy, art, and the essence of life, I hope the audience will draw inspiration from the fireworks to reconcile with nature and find the power to heal.”