Faith XLVII on Her Collaboration
By Marie-Ève Venne
Creating extraordinary cognacs since 1765, Hennessy Very Special represents the comité-de-degustation’s unique expertise. Only the most distinctive Eaux-de-Vie are selected which are then carefully matured for several years in oak casks and skillfully blended to reveal their warm, full-bodied flavor. Each year, Hennessy invites a guest artist to revisit the design of this very specific bottle, re-affirming its nonstop support to the art world.
This year, the cognac brand continues its own legacy of partnering with leading contemporary artists on limited edition labels with the release of the brand’s latest edition imagined by the South-African artist Faith XLVII. The artist is the first female voice to join the Limited Editions series.
She is an internationally-acclaimed visual artist from South Africa who is currently based in Los Angeles. Her work is both an internal and spiritual release that speaks to the complexities of the human condition, its deviant histories and existential search.
Speaking of her collaboration with Hennessy, she describes it as something that happened almost organically.
“I think it’s a kind of a natural attraction that happened. I have a few peers of mine who have worked with them in the past and I feel like it is quite an awesome lineage of artists to be a part of. So, when they approached me, I was like, really honored to come on board, especially seeing that I was the first female to answer this,” says Faith.
Collaborating with renowned luxury brands can sometimes mean having to make some concessions for an artist, but it wasn’t the case with Hennessy.
“They gave me a lot of freedom and I didn’t have to submit a brief. I went to France to meet the team and we went to Cognac and spend some time there to witness the natural process of how Hennessy is actually made. This experience really gave life to my whole direction for this project. For the last 200 years, they’ve been doing things in a certain way, and it takes time, patience and skill. There’s still a lot of handcrafted processes that have been handed down from generation to generation, like the making of the barrels. And you know, even the flavors are so affected by seasonal changes and temperatures. I was just thinking, how this kind of cyclical nature of time was relatable to me because I have a threat of work that is about nature and sustainability and our actions within nature and how whatever we do has a direct impact on us. So, I was researching some old archetypal imagery and also some ancient manuscripts like esoteric and chemical graphs of calendars and Planetary movements,” explains the artist.
“I think in that way, it’s really important to, to have these kinds of brands who are doing that and not rushing it through, like modernizing too much. There’s something beautiful about doing things properly and taking your time,” she adds.
The result is a powerful work of art representing Hennessy through the elements, earth and the cycles of nature. With the sun and time as central elements, intricate detail pays tribute to nature via references to the moon, rain, clouds and grapevines accentuated in precious gold leaf. A palette inspired by natural colors combines gold elements with peachy, sunset tones to convey, while striking graphic lettering pays tribute to the chalk inscriptions on age-old barrels stores in the Founder’s Cellar in Cognac.
As for the spirit itself, the artist actually does enjoy drinking it.
“I do like Hennessy. And it’s something that I would probably have on the rocks. But actually, we did come up with some cocktails and I wanted to create something that was very earthy. We ended up choosing jasmine tea and eucalyptus with a blonde with a bit of lime. I really liked that combination, and it’s quite like an earthy flavor. Unfortunately, I can’t share it with you in person, but I hope you will try it at home safely surrounded by your loved ones,” declares Faith.
Faith XLVII X Hennessy Cocktail Recipe:
-1.5 oz of Hennessy VS
-3/4 oz of eucalyptus syrup
-3/4 oz of fresh lime juice
-1 oz of jasmine tea
Shake all the ingredients with ice. Strain into a Collins glass with fresh ice and top with tonic water. Garnish with eucalyptus and edible flowers.