By Michael McCarthy By Michael McCarthy | October 13, 2022 | Food & Drink
To celebrate the NBA’s 75th anniversary, Hennessy teamed up with French jeweler Lorenz Bäumer to create a rare crystal decanter.
French jeweler Lorenz Bäumer
Something magical happened at 19 Place Vendôme in Paris over the past several months. That’s the business address of the legendary French jeweler Lorenz Bäumer, who collaborated with Hennessy Paradis to create decanters so rare that there are only 75 units available worldwide. The globes hold a rare cognac—a blend of more than 100 eaux de vie—from master blender Maurice Fillioux.
Bäumer, the former artistic director at Louis Vuitton, crafted the 1.75-liter magnum Baccarat-blown crystal globes to celebrate the NBA’s 75th anniversary. Much like gemstones, each plane is hand-faceted, and the basketball’s treads are hand-gilded; its opening is fitted with a golden key. When opened, the presentation doubles as a trophy case. Collectors will find a signed and numbered gold-finished plaque and a rare jewel. It’s the design equivalent of hitting three-pointers all night, including one at the buzzer. We talked with Bäumer about his winning formula.
Only 75 of the decanters are available worldwide.
What was your inspiration for creating this decanter?
The decanter expresses the movement and dynamism of the game—something that reflects the rare and delicate precious essence of Hennessy Paradis. I had the incredible freedom to break away from Hennessy’s iconic silhouette and create a completely new design for the decanter. The creation, a decanter in the shape of the iconic basketball made of crystal, is like a jewel for me. Each decanter is cut individually by the Baccarat master craftsmen like a precious gem, which makes them unique. Rare cognacs evoke emotions; they come from the soil and create a bond between people. I love this idea, which is the essence of everything I create.
How did the NBA’s history impact your thinking when it came to the decanter’s design?
I’m a great fan of the NBA and follow the news actively. I love the energy and the feeling of joy it inspires. It took 600 years to complete a project like this—250 years of Hennessy know-how, 250 years of Baccarat know-how, 30 years of Lorenz Bäumer know-how and 75 years of NBA. Time and expertise are always key ingredients in making the magic happen.
A trophy case display accompanies the decanter.
How did Hennessey and its cognac influence the creation of the decanter?
During my visit at the Hennessy headquarters in Cognac, I was fascinated by the natural beauty of cognac shimmering like liquid gold. I tasted Hennessy Paradis, and the harmony of the blend immediately inspired me. Hennessy Paradis is like a rare and precious gem.
Please share a little about the project’s creative process.
I wanted to create an object that captures the essence of both the NBA and Hennessy Paradis, combining the codes of basketball, jewelry and the excellence of cognac-making. The shape of the decanter is a tribute to the iconic design of the basketball. The use of crystal is a tribute to French savoir-faire and the expertise of Maison Baccarat.
For the creation of the box that contains the carafe, I was inspired by a jewelry box—to be opened with a key that is also used to open the decanter, the key to your paradise. I used the orange signature leather of a basketball for the box, and the wood is reminiscent of the parquet floor of the playground or the wood of the casks. The emblematic marking of the field can be found on the box and the decanter with lines traced in gold.
Each piece was handcrafted by skilled artisans.
Photography by: all photos courtesy of hennessy