A Connoisseur & A SAYS Video Producer Interpret Ridley Scott's Short Film For Hennessy XO
Their thoughts are pretty eye-opening!
Award-winning director, Ridley Scott, is known the world over for works such as 'Alien', 'Blade Runner', and 'Gladiator'
Sir Ridley Scott is a British film director and producer, famed for his signature science-fiction style of films, for which he has won countless awards amid critical acclaim.
This time, Scott was put in charge of evoking the "seven worlds" that one goes through when drinking Hennessy XO cognac
With sweeping shots of other-worldly environments, Scott adds his own sci-fi take on the seven tasting notes of Hennessy XO. With each note comes a different, ephemeral encounter, blurring the line between fantasy and reality. In traditional Ridley Scott fashion, the entire film makes for a breathtaking cinematic experience.
You can watch the short film below:
Hennessy's Ambassadeur de la Maison, Marc Boissonnet, lives and breathes cognac
Marc Boissonnet has been working with Hennessy for the past 20 years, with his sole job as Brand Ambassador requiring him to travel the world to educate cognac novices and fellow connoisseurs alike on the importance of the Hennessy heritage, as well as its crafted cognac.
With a sheer commitment for the house of Hennessy, Boissonnet has exclaimed that his job has become an inseparable passion, more than anything else.
Kenneth Leow is SAYS' Head of Video, and a connoisseur of film himself
Kenneth Leow is the Head of Video at SAYS (woohoo!) and was an integral figure to the initial development and spearheading of Rev Asia's video department.
The Head of Video also moonlights as a director and co-producer for various production companies on a freelance basis, having worked on a slew of mini-series and short films for clients consisting of small-medium enterprises as well as multinational corporations.
We asked Boissonnet and Leow to share their interpretations of Ridley Scott's 'The Seven Worlds' with us. Here's what they said:
Safe to say, this four-minute short film fully captured the essence of Hennessy XO
As expected of a short film directed by Ridley Scott, Boissonet said it showed the "fantastic and allegorical illustrations of Hennessy XO", bringing the characteristics of Hennesy XO to life.
Ever since the first XO, distilled in 1870, Boissonnet explains how the cognac has always been crafted to release richer sensations than the ones before. The decanter-shaped bottle also adds another touch to the entire tasting experience.
All this, according to Boissonnet, was beautifully shown through 'The Seven Worlds', with each world representing a different tasting note.
As a connoisseur of film, Leow praises Scott's ability to portray elements of the past, present, and future
Besides that, Leow was impressed by how Scott made use of every visual element throughout the seven worlds to evoke a personification of taste. For instance, this scene of a fighter jet escaping from fiery clouds perfectly represents the feeling of drinking cognac like a 'flowing flame'.
For Marc Boissonnet, his favourite scene in the entire film is 'Rising Heat', which tells viewers that "the brighter the sun, the better the shade"
Here, we see a group of nomadic travellers with towering giants walking by their side. Despite how gentle the giants are, each step they take subtly (but surely) disturbs the sand beneath them.
In a sense, Boissonnet uses this as a reminder that the shade will always feel more satisfying when the sun is scorching hot. He sees this as an analogy that we should all be open to the versatility of Hennessy XO. Enjoy it neat, or with ice cubes once in a while.
Leow, on the other hand, appreciates the director's use of visual cues and symbolism to elevate one's understanding of the film
According to Leow, any good director will want to use a good opening sequence to set up audience expectations for what's to come in the film.
He praises the sequence's seamless introduction and transition into the first world, stating that it immediately fulfilled his expectations as a viewer. The element of foreshadowing in the first sequence also sets the viewer up for a world of sci-fi fantasy.
There are some things in the film that we might not pick up on immediately
Boissonnet points out that viewers might not realise the seven sensations in the film are meant to be interpretations of the cognac at first. Instead, the film gradually guides viewers to develop their own visual impressions of the seven tasting notes one would experience with Hennessy XO.
The Hennessy Brand Ambassador also emphasises the fact that Ridley Scott 'designed' each scene with legitimate input from the cognac distillery's own Comité de Dégustation (Tasting Committee).
Nevertheless, watching the short film allows you to vicariously taste Hennessy XO through each individual scene
Boissonnet quipped that he felt an intense craving for the cognac when he first previewed the film with some colleagues. Watching it for the first time made him feel as if he had just had a virtual glass of Hennessy XO, almost feeling the rich sensations and robust flavour.
Leow exclaims that he definitely felt as if he had just tasted the cognac itself, even without having ever tried it before, thanks to the generous amount of visual and audio stimulation in the film.
He also explains that he would need a bottle of Hennessy XO for "verification purposes". Okay, Kenneth. ;)
One of the most wonderful things about this film is how it provides an atmosphere of fantasy which reflects reality
Instead of sitting through a presentation of facts and statistics regarding the cognac, viewers get to experience each fantastical element of Hennessy XO through the reality of 'The Seven Worlds'.
In a sense, the film also pays tribute to the original XO, or Extra-Old, without taking for granted the immense commitment of master blenders at Hennessy. Thanks to centuries of hard work, Hennessy XO has become highly coveted and sought after by connoisseurs from all walks of life, leading to its undisputed status as an icon.
Some things might not make sense until you look at the bigger picture
Leow points out that, initially, these seven different worlds are totally dissimilar; as if they don't fit well together. However, all these worlds come together seamlessly in the last scene, 'Infinite Echo', as a collective in the same universe.
Leow stresses that all this symbolises the work that master blenders are capable of when crafting the cognac - taking different liquid profiles from ageing in oak barrels and then blending them together to achieve the balanced, multi-faceted taste of Hennessy XO.
Have you tried Hennessy XO before? Share your thoughts of 'The Seven Worlds' in the comments below!
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