The Classicist: Hennessy and Berluti Create the Ultimate Cognac Experience
Famed French cognac maker Hennessy, the world's oldest cognac house, has unveiled a $23,000 limited edition XO Mathusalem bottling in a bespoke leather trunk by famed shoemaker Berluti. The two luxe brands, both part of the LVMH luxury goods empire, teamed up to create the ultimate cognac experience; only 150 pieces will be made most of which will be sold in Asia and Russia. The XO Mathusalem comes in a six liter (1.6 gallon) hand-blown crystal decanter, originally designed for Hennessy by the Marquis de Geoffre in 1947 for Hennessy; each bottle has its edition number engraved upon it. Designed by Olga Berluti (the fourth generation of the Berluti family) every Hennessy Mathusalem by Berluti chest is signed by her. She based her design for the chest on a 400-year-old salt box she had inherited from her parents – a Venetian tradition whereby such boxes are presented to newlyweds who toss the salt over their shoulders for luck.
Etched with engravings and ancient maps, as a symbol of the treasured cognac contained within, the handmade chest features a crocodile-motif clasp and is designed to store a collection of watches or other precious objects and be handed down as an heirloom. "We wanted to create something that will remain beyond the sharing of the cognac," Hennessy chairman and CEO Bernard Peillon said at the chest's recent unveiling in China. "The chest and cognac become something very personal. Once you finish the bottle, you can keep the memory of it. Olga wanted to create something special that tells the story of her growing up in Venice and her family building gondolas. You can say it's a work of art. We like the poetry of it and the romanticism in Berluti's personal story." Each chest takes 70 hours to build and inside each one is a catenella, a wooden element found in Venetian gondolas upon which is carved the gondolier's initials and the boatyard's hallmark. A certificate of ownership accompanies each trunk as well.
Gallery: Hennessy Mathusalem by Berluti
The rich, mellow Hennessy XO cognac itself has, fittingly, notes of old leather along with black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, vanilla and crystallized fruit. Berluti, founded in France 1895 by Italian Alessandro Berluti, who had trained as a woodworker, is famed for its exquisite handmade creations with their unique finishes costing thousands of dollars. Notable Berluti customers past and present include Andy Warhol, Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu and many of the world's best-dressed men.