Hennessy to auction one of 100 glitzy booze chests marking former chief's birthday

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 April, 2008, 12:00am

In another case of selling sizzle in addition to steak, Hennessy cognac decided to celebrate the 100th birthday of its former chairman and sixth-generation family distiller, Kilian Hennessy, by commissioning a French artist to create an objet d'art.

The result is a glittery booze chest called Beaute du Siecle (Beauty of the Century). Only 100 such ostentatious pieces were made and No81 is now in Hong Kong. It is waiting to be auctioned on Friday at an equally grandiose dinner at Petrus for Care For Children, a charity on the mainland that organises foster care and programmes for orphans and the underprivileged.

The flashy item, elaborately decorated with mirrors, aluminium rings and pearls, was unveiled last Friday by Island Shangri-La hotel boss Franz Donhauser (left in photo) and Moet Hennessy Diageo's local general manager Boris de Vroomen (right).

They piled on all the superlative sales pitches and extravagant build-ups you'd expect. Naturally, it's all about turning up the prestige volume. However, it turns out the item was created last year and the former head of Hennessy has already turned 101.

'That goes to show Hennessy is very healthy for you,' de Vroomen joked.

You can see it on display until Friday at the Island Shangri-La's Harbour Room on the 56th floor. However, just a seat at the auction dinner will set you back HK$3,088. The minimum bid for the Beaute du Siecle, with a litre of Hennessy's premium blend inside, is HK$1.68 million and it goes up in HK$100,000 increments after that.