Hennessy V.S.O.P. bottle launch at DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton
The gala launch of Hennessy V.S.O.P’s new bottle was held with great elegance at DoubleTree by Hilton in Kuala Lumpur on last Friday, 18 May 2012. The ballroom was made into 2 divisions, which was a launch floor and an after-launch party lounge. Guests were all dressed predominantly in black, perhaps to reflect the elegant theme of the evening. The evening get started off in a great mood with short video clip shown, explaining briefly the concepts and ideas of Chris Bangle in the new bottle design.
DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton
The Intermark 348 Jalan Tun Razak,
Kuala Lumpur, 50400, Malaysia
Hennessy V.S.O.P moves forward in a spirit of continuity with a new bottle and packaging design
This cognac’s personality has gone unchanged for nearly two centuries. Under the stewardship of Hennessy’s cellar master, the Tasting Committee hands down the secrets of selection, ageing and blending, as can be seen in the use, for maturation, of oak barrels that have lost part of their tannin, so as to avoid giving the eau de vie excessively woody notes while providing an elegant expression.
Today, the House’s Tasting Committee carries on this vision, as Olivier Paultes, Member of the Tasting Committee explains, “When blending the eaux de vie for Hennessy V.S.O.P., we harmonise a wide variety of sensory characteristics as a great Chef would, selecting from a wide range of ingredients to create an exceptional dish.”
Naturally, such an iconic cognac should be presented in a bottle whose curves signify the elegance and generosity of its content, as well as its balance and exceptional harmony. After an initial modernisation of the bottle in 1989, V.S.O.P. is moving resolutely into the 21st century, as can be seen in the work of designer Chris Bangle, a legendary figure in the automobile world, who has redesigned its contours to bring its sleek silhouette firmly into the future.
“Designing for Hennessy gave me the same sensations as working on designs for fast BMWs or a great Rolls Royce. It is that experience of a unique emotion,” said Chris Bangle.
After seeking to understand Hennessy V.S.O.P’s deepest secrets, Chris Bangle picked up his pencil and drew this cognac’s new silhouette. He accentuated the curves on the sides of the bottle, thereby reinforcing its silhouette’s dynamics, then he lengthened its neck and straightened its shoulders, stretching it vertically. Inspired by the Hennessy V.S.O.P. bottle created in 1954, Chris Bangle chose to confirm this upward movement with an enriched base resembling a pedestal to distinguish the whole with opulence while maintaining its stability.
With a carefully designed optical effect, the front of the bottle evokes a pyramid perspective, suggesting an upward vanishing point to draw the eye toward the top of the bottle, where Chris Bangle has chosen to engrave the legendary arm and axe of the Hennessy family into the glass itself. The symbolic Hennessy V.S.O.P. oval label is in dark grey ennobled with golden embossing a few millimetres from this.
The box that the bottle comes in has also benefited from this renewal, giving its edges over to a more modern vision: the sides have been refined and dramatised by photographer Adam Savitch.
Anti-counterfeiting techniques for the Hennessy V.S.O.P bottle were also developed: a laser stamp for the 35-cl, 70-cl and 3-litre bottles and a hologram of inimitable complexity (now with horizontal lines forming a grape cluster) seal the cap, ensuring product integrity.
For Hennessy, the combination of design aesthetics and ergonomics with a never-ending quest for quality and security is indispensable. V.S.O.P. embodies these values. Because that is how the future is made: by designing legends.
Member of the Tasting Committee,
Head of Distilleries , Maison HennessyA Life In Cognac
Born in Cognac, the son and grandson of master blenders in the region, it is fair to say that Olivier Paultes has spent his whole life surrounded by the culture of France’s most famous distilled spirit.
So it seems fitting that in September 2011, after a successful 24-year tenure as cellar master at the family-owned estate producer Cognac Frapin, Olivier was invited to take up a newly created role as member of the tasting committee and “head of distilleries and communication of eau-de-vie know-how” at the heart of the world’s biggest cognac house, Hennessy – the region’s most important producer and exporter.
The position was created earlier in the year when Hennessy’s legendary cellar master and general manager Yann Fillioux – the seventh generation of his family to occupy the post – made the decision to step back from many of his day-to-day responsibilities in production.
Reporting directly to Hennessy president Bernard Peillon, Olivier will be working alongside Jean-Pierre Vidal, Hennessy’s long-time distilling specialist and manager of the facility at Le Peu, where the company has 10 pot stills.
Olivier Paultes explains: “I am in charge of the Hennessy distillation and contacts with all the big distilleries who work for Hennessy, as well as overseeing the blending. Previously I had to look after all the elements of producing and bottling cognac, from labels and corks, to marketing as well.
“So today I am very happy, because I can focus on my true passion, working at the heart of the cognac elaboration process: handling the complexities of the eaux-de-vie and the distillation.”
In a company holding the world’s largest stock of maturing eaux-de-vie, one part of Olivier’s job will be to communicate the knowledge built up across the many generations at Hennessy. As he puts it himself: “I am in charge of explaining Hennessy’s quality and new Hennessy products.”
A regular judge in spirits competitions such as the International Spirits Challenge and International Wine & Spirit Competition, Olivier’s penchant for travel comes as an advantage. “I have to know what consumers in all the different markets are sensitive to, in terms of style, modes of consumption and quality,” says the man whose first few months in the House took him to Shanghai and Guangzhou in China, as well as India.
Following his move to Hennessy, Olivier becomes one of the eight chosen members of the company’s “comité de dégustation” – the tasting committee that underpins the creation of the Hennessy blends through its collective expertise, deciding which eaux-de-vie are destined for use in which Hennessy blend.
“We taste between 60 and 70 samples every morning, between 11 and 12 o’clock,” he says. While Yann Fillioux continues to make the key decisions, the honour and responsibility are clear for Olivier: “Mr Fillioux was born to be a master blender, and I am already learning a great deal by working with him,” he says.
“What is important in a big distillery is to adapt and to make the best blend possible. The wines and eaux-de-vie change every year, so even at a distillery on the scale of Hennessy, each blend must be individually crafted.”
Growing up in the Cognac region, Olivier Paultes began to absorb the secrets of the art from an early age. He worked his first harvest at the age of 12, then at 14 began to learn about the grapes and soil through working in the cellars of the BNIC (Bureau National Interprofessionnel de Cognac) president.
As a schoolboy, Olivier admits that he was undecided as to whether to follow a path into the cognac business or to become a city trader. However at weekends and in summer holidays through his teens he worked as a tour guide for a cognac producer friend, also assisting in the vineyards and during distillation.
He caught the travel bug early, but even as a young man, wherever Olivier went, his birth heritage went with him. “Whenever I said I was from Cognac, people always wanted to know the secrets of the process,” he says. The pull of the region was strong, and by the age of about 18, the young Olivier was beginning to make some decisions.
“There was no school to learn how to make cognac, but I already possessed many of the secrets from my family, and plenty of books, as well as many contacts in the region through my school and sports,” says Olivier. He refined the art of eau-de-vie and cognac tasting at Oreco (Organisation Economique du Cognac), and began to gain experience at numerous different companies, including some producers with small vineyards and pot stills of their own.
A spell at the BNIC laboratory was followed by six months at Martell’s Gallienne distilleries in Saint-Martin – his best friend was the son of the cellar master – just before the company was bought by Seagram. And it was at this time, aged about 22, that Olivier decided his destiny lay in Cognac.
February 1987 saw the start of Olivier’s time at Frapin, and it took only two years for the former master blender to be confident that he could safely hand over the reins – and at the age of just 25, Olivier Paultes became the youngest cellar master in France.
Across the next two decades, he became part of the fabric at Frapin – his own instincts and expertise helping to define the essential personality of the House. Such blends as the ultra-premium Cuvée Rabelais and the multi-award winning Multimillésimes series of vintage blends will be Olivier’s lasting legacy at Frapin.
Relishing The Challenge
The decision to open a new chapter in his life was driven by a need for new personal challenges, Olivier Paultes says. Coming from a Cognac house that produces spirits solely from its own Grande Champagne vineyards, the range of constituent elements that form the palette for the creation of the Hennessy blends – Fins Bois, Borderies, Petite Champagne and Grande Champagne –certainly requires a shift of focus.
“It’s very interesting to see the distillation in other regions,” says Olivier. “For instance in the Fins Bois, at Hennessy we can find some very special products with very good fruit, thanks to the expertise of the tasting committee and the great care taken in selection. For me it is a very interesting challenge, as well as working with probably the greatest stocks of eaux-de-vie in the profession .” Hennessy has made some serious investment, he adds, in its plans for the distilleries he will be supervising: “The Maison really wants to continue making the very best quality products for blending in the future.”
This will of course keep the company’s new head of distilleries occupied.
And there’s no question that Olivier Paultes is ready for the challenge. “Every day when I come to work, I find a lot of energy here at Hennessy. It’s very important in life to be among people like this. The company wants to continue to lead, and the tasting committee has new blends to create. We have a lot of work to do…”
A big applaused to introduce and inviting Chris Bangle, the man of the iconic designed in the automobile world, elaborated on his inspirations in redesigning the emblematic V.S.O.P bottle, by adding a modern touch to its sleek lines
Former Chief Designer of BMWChristopher Edward "Chris" Bangle is an American automobile designer known for his daring design and far-reaching influence. Bangle is known best for his work as Chief of Design for BMW Group, where he was responsible for the BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce motor cars from 1992 to 2006. Bangle attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, earning a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master's degree in Industrial Design at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, before starting his career at Opel in Germany, where he worked from 1981 until 1985.
He became the first American chief of design of BMW on October 1, 1992, where he designed the Z9 Gran Turismo concept car.
During the Bangle era, BMW overtook Mercedes as the global leader in premium car sales. Chris Bangle is also the creator of the emblematic M6, Z4 and the famous GINA Visionary Model concept car, his last project in the world of automobile design before leaving the car industry altogether to focus on his own design-related endeavours under his own firm called Chris Bangle Associates based in Turin, Italy.
The lights were dimmed with the spotlights focusing on the Star of the evening… the sexy new Hennessy V.S.O.P Bottle
All photographers rushed forward to capture images of the new bottle while the rest of the guests moved on to the after-launch party area.
Doubletree Hotel by Hilton Ballroom
Moet Hennessy Diageo has made their efforts to ensure guests had a swell time at the party. The biggest attraction in the lounge of the night was the 360 Cam booth. A round platform with countless cameras mounted above on a circular panel. Guests were given some props, like a guitar, a Hennessy bottle etc to pose with, while the cameras snapped and recorded their moment of fame!
Hennessy 360 Cam booth
Hennessy VSOP DJ Reeve and DJ Eva T
Jo jo Struy and Chelsia Ng
Guest and Pamela Chong
Patricia K and Joey G
Moots and Vanessa Chong
One FM Suki and Guest
DJ Eva T...rock the house
Daniel Veerapen and Lee Yvonne
Guest and Moots from Pop Shuvit
Model Peter Davis (Left) and friends
One FM Suki and friend
Moots, Vanessa Chong, Hennessy VSOP MC Will Quah and guest
Hennessy is the world’s leading premium cognac brand. Founded in 1765, the house of Hennessy has continually strived to create the World’s finest cognacs.
Hennessy is a master of the art of blending fine aged cognac eaux-de-vie and has been creating fine cognac for seven generations. This heritage and savoir-faire has earned Hennessy Cognac world-wide renown and the appreciation of today's greatest cognac connoisseurs, making which the brand the world’s number one cognac and the one of the world’s most sophisticated spirits. For more information on Hennessy V.S.O.P, please visit Hennessy’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HennessyMalaysia
Moët Hennessy Diageo Malaysia (formally known as Riche Monde Malaysia) is the recognized industry leader in the marketing and distribution of premium branded spirits, champagnes and fine wines in Malaysia. Our portfolio includes some of the most well-known premium brands such as Hennessy cognac, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon and Krug champagne. Johnnie Walker Scotch Whiskies, Glenmorangie Single Malt, Belvedere Vodka, Grand Marnier, Gordon’s Gin, Smirnoff Vodka, Bailey’s Irish Cream as well as a wide range of quality wines from traditional and New World countries. For further information, kindly visit www.hennessy.com and www.mhdm.com.my
Photos above provided by Hennessy Malaysia