To transcend time and remain relevant through centuries is a feat only accomplished with authenticity and mastery—an act Maison Hennessy, originally founded in 1975, has done effortlessly through the ages.
In a seamless blend of history and modernity the French cognac distiller has partnered with world-renowned dancing duo Les Twins to craft two separate limited edition bottles, marking a first for the brand and their continued commitment to expanding culture.
Born as the youngest of 11 children in the projects of Sarcelles, north of Paris, identical twins Larry and Laurent Bourgeois knew early on that dancing was beyond a love and passion, but rather sewn into their DNA.
“It’s my life living. I breathe like that, through dancing. I don’t think to dance everyday, it just happens,” said Laurent. From Sarcelles to the Champs Élysée dance has taken them across the globe—on stage with Alicia Keys, tours with Beyoncé and Jay-Z, on Jennifer Lopez’s talent show World of Dance—and now, to Château de Bagnolet, the historic Hennessy family estate in Cognac.
Built on the banks of the Charente River in 1810, the brothers found inspiration in the estate, the vineyards, the process, and the depth of history to channel into dance using motion capture technology. The result? Les Twins’ fluid movements breathing life onto the bottles, featuring a likeness of either Larry or Laurent. Continuing the Hennessy Very Special commitment to exclusive collaborations with artists and innovators, this pairing breaks the mold further with a redesign of the brand’s historic crest, signifying a true blend of past and present.
“What’s amazing to us is Hennessy’s willingness to make this collaboration so personal, representing France through two people of colour whose story is two centuries removed fromHennessy’s and yet so similar,” said Laurent.
Originally founded in 1765, Maison Hennessy, has built a reputation as an originator, a sentiment the duo shares. “You need patience to create, precision of gesture, timing and a lot of energy,” explains Larry of the parallels between cognac-making and dance.
“At Maison Hennessy, they talk about the vines; Les Twins talk about dance and music, but anyone who follows us knows that we set out to forge a new path, like Richard Hennessy did in his time.”
Here Les Twins discuss the collaboration and the power of movement.
— What does dance mean to you?
Larry: Dance is, The short answer is, it’s not a passion, it’s my life living. I breathe like that, through dancing, I don’t think to dance everyday, it just happens. I don’t know how to walk without the two-step or dancing, I never get bored ever in my life. It’s not a passion. I have passions, I like a lot of different things that I love to do in life, but dancing is not what I would put as a passion. Something I hate the most is when someone asks me to dance, oh my God, I hate that. That’s something I can’t take. Why are you asking me to do something that I do naturally, right?
— How do you navigate being brothers and partners?
Laurent: Being brothers is part of the [Hennessy] creation and being brothers in our work, it’s the same thing. It’s kind of hard, business becomes personal, personal becomes business. Eventually there’s no time, there’s nowhere we don’t fight. I’m so sorry, but it’s true. But thank God that we actually have this energy between each other that’s wholly opposite. Otherwise, with just love, we will not be dancing like that. If I love my brother, like every brother and sister love each other, the dancing will be so weak.
— You’ve been labeled “creators of street movement.” How do you define yourselves?
We’ve always been that, but as the world changes and we grow it’s become so much more than that. What we create is emotion, art, a street spirit. It’s like an osmosis, a mix: we “dance” our life. Our movement is what makes us unique, it’s like a digital fingerprint — it’s a style and a signature, our DNA.
— What was it like to grow up in Sarcelles, and how did you get your big break?
Laurent: When you’re born a twin, you’re already a star in a way. We always knew we were different. Dance was our way of being different and not just expressing it through clothes or money. After school, we worked in odd jobs, but I really believed we were destined for bigger things so I pushed Larry to quit so we could dream big and try our luck.Larry: One night, we showed up and danced on the Champs-Elysées. Alicia Keys saw us and we performed with her the next day in Paris. That’s how it started. Then we saved up and flew to New York and danced in Times Square, which is where Jay-Z and Beyoncé spotted us and we danced in her world tour. Then came modelling, acting and singing.
— What did you know about the Maison Hennessy before joining its family?
We had a very urban image of Hennessy, because it’s been a part of our orbit ever since we started dancing: our friends order it in nightclubs, it’s part of street culture, and hip-hop especially. So it was a natural collaboration even if we don’t drink often, personally. To be masters of our art, of movement, we need to have complete control of our bodies. But in 2017 when we won the World of Dance finals, we celebrated with a glass of Hennessy. We also see Hennessy everywhere we travel, we discovered the House’s collaboration with Ridley Scott in the LA airport. It was fantastic: the entire store was an experience.
— What were your first impressions when you visited Cognac?
It was like walking into a chapter of French history! The reason we wanted to collaborate with Hennessy is because there’s an incredible story behind it, something real, built on genuine savoir-faire. But we didn’t realize how major it was until we got there. The Château de Bagnolet is immense. We received an incredible welcome, we felt right at home there, and we learned so much. You get the sense that people are happy, that they’re passionate about their work: the energy is so warm and generous — it’s like a cocoon that tells the story of the Maison Hennessy. Every step of the creative process is totally mastered. And the winter garden is almost futuristic.
— What surprised you most?
Laurent: I didn’t expect to be so drawn to the process. We went into the fields, got our feet muddy, spoke about the earth, talked about the grapes, harvesting, watched a drone fly over a field to analyze the vines.; we had a blast.
Larry: That’s when I realized how lucky I am. I hadn’t realized before I was surprised to realize that the whole town, all of Cognac, is about cognac-making. It’s a part of French history. Seeing the arm and the broad axe made us think about our own story — it’s about adventure, the conquering spirit. The work, the House’s sense of duty, the fact that everyone did what they did for future generations, it’s incredible.
— At what point did your dance interpretation come together?
Laurent: I think our second visit to Cognac was when we really understood. Learning the House’s history changed everything for us; we weren’t the same after that, it was mind-blowing. We knew that Hennessy is luxurious, but when we set foot there and understood the story behind it, and all the steps that go into making Hennessy cognac, we said to ourselves that everyone should know more about it. Hennessy is intertwined with the history of France.
It’s a love story about preserving land for future generations. Believe it or not, it resonates with Les Twins’ story, 200 years later. Like Hennessy, we had to stick together, change people’s minds, and just forge ahead. Also: our lives, personal and professional, are likewise one and the same.
— Can you tell us more about the bottle design?
What’s amazing to us is Hennessy’s willingness to make this collaboration so personal, representing France through two people of colour whose story is two centuries removed from Hennessy’s and yet so similar. The Hennessy Very Special x Les Twins is a single special edition, but with two different bottles featuring our likenesses on the packaging. The House even redesigned their historic crest, the arm and the broadaxe, just for us: here it appears in double as the House were saying Les Twins’ story touches us, let’s do this. The Hennessy name also appears in Les Twins’ signature graphics, which is something the House has never done before. It’s a touching gesture of mutual respect and loyalty — and prestige too, since none of those heritage elements has been altered before.