The Hennessy Odyssey was unveiled yesterday — an immersive exploration of the cognac house's XO, complete with a multi-sensory mirrored room and a film collaboration with director Nicolas Winding Refn.
But perhaps the most interesting, and useful, part of the Odyssey, which is targeted at the on-trade, was a presentation of three serves by Ryan Chetiyawardana and Robin Honhold of White Lyan. While that bar might be famous for its complete lack of ice, the serves here weren't bound by that restriction.
The first saw Hennessy XO from a freezer poured into a frozen glass that had been sprayed with a vanilla salt solution. The second serve consisted of fridge-temperature XO poured into a glass with a layer of ice frozen into it. For the third, room-temperature XO was poured over ice made from water specifically mineralised to pair with the cognac.
The three serves not only offered a new way of approaching Hennessy XO, but provided some serious inspiration for new neat-spirit serves.
'Cognac has always held high repute within bartending and epicurean circles, but much of this has been focused on traditional serves,' said Chetiyawardana. 'The complexity inherent within Hennessy XO has challenged us to find innovative ways to showcase its multifaceted nuances and myriad flavours whilst retaining what is at the core of the spirit.
'Through collaboration with the Hennessy team, and the explorations in temperature arc, dilution and texture that we pioneered at White Lyan, we hope to inspire new ways to enjoy Hennessy XO, demonstrating its famous luxuriousness but also revealing new aspects of this much-loved spirit.'
Hennessy UK brand ambassador Max Helm added: 'In the UK, cognac is still perceived as an after-dinner drink, served in a traditional way. We want to encourage everyone to think differently and innovatively about XO and the possibilities of this surprisingly versatile complex spirit.'
The Hennessy Odyssey took place yesterday and today in Moët Hennessy UK's transformed headquarters in London.