Hennessy is creeping its way into crypto. The LVMH-owned Cognac brand has released its first NFTs, priced at $226,450.

Each will represent physical and digital ownership of the first and last bottles (1 and 250, respectively) of Hennessy 8, a limited-edition expression from the Cognac house.

The bottles and assets will be sold to a single buyer on the spirits NFT platform BlockBar on January 12th. Pricing is at 70.47 ETH (approximately, or $226k USD).

The liquid itself honors the legacy of 7 of the house’s master blenders, combining one eau-de-vie from each generation of blenders and presenting it in a limited-edition, ultra-luxury formatting.

The physical attributes includes a commemorative sculpture and a Baccarat-blown and engraved carafe, along with a pipette, cork holder and chest designed by Arik Levy and made with oak staves from La Sarrazine, the Hennessy cooperage. 4 tasting glasses originally designed 30 years ago by George Riedel and Yann Fillioux have been reissued for the occasion. A personalized authentication plate and numbered certificate wrap up the physical package.

Let’s be clear: you can drink this Cognac (if you can pony up the funds). The BlockBar platform stores the physical bottle for free. If you buy it, you’re issued a digital version of the bottle that serves as a verification of ownership, proof of authenticity and the right to have the physical bottle delivered upon request.

“If you own the NFT, you own the underlying physical asset—often held in custody by a trust company,” explains BlockBar co-founder and President Sam Falic.

When the buyer purchased the non-fungible token (NFT), they claim ownership of the bottles themselves, with a cryptographic version being held by BlockBar. The buyer can redeem the physical product or trade the NFT version in the digital BlockBar marketplace. “Each token is proven to be scarce, non-interchangeable and authentic,” he continues. “Once the physical asset is redeemed from the vault, the token is burned.”

In 2021, the NFT market generated over $23 billion, a huge jump up from the $100 million in trading volume recorded the year prior.

BlockBar launched in October 2021 and has since found much success offering up ultra-rare bottles to crypto-savvy collectors. “Our launch release of 15 bottles with Glenfiddich sold out in 4 seconds and since that release, a few bottles have been resold,” says Dov Falic, co-founder and CEO of BlockBar. Some flipped bottles of the 21-year-old, Armagnac-aged cask Scotch commanded lofty prices of up to $288,000, according to PUNCH.What does that mean for the spirits industry?

Though NFTs live in the digital space, Falic and cousin Dov find NFTs offer real-life answers to many of the spirits industry’s current pitfalls. “Asset-backed NFTs are both the most secure way to protect a liquor collection, and serve as a hedge against the market,” says Falic. “At BlockBar we only partner directly with brand owners, such as Hennessy, and therefore the NFTs serve as a digital certificate of authenticity, eliminating any concern for counterfeits.”

While the NFT may change hands as much as the purchaser pleases, the physical product is shipped twice; once from the brand to a bonded secure facility, and once to the final consumer when they’re ready to enjoy. “This gives the ability for consumers around the globe to transact and invest with one another and removes the concern of authenticity, importation and storage.”

With these authenticity concerns addressed, the Falics finds that a whole new demographic of collectors are increasingly interested in the space.

“The number of people who have started collecting in this category has grown exponentially, yet access to these exclusive collections is still incredibly difficult. Collection investing has always been difficult due to the issues with storage, importation and authenticity,” Sam continues. “This is where NFTs play a huge role in the future of the industry. Offering NFTs is the best way to show transparency and guarantee authenticity to all buyers.”

The category is also increasingly enticing to buyers who can’t afford the oft-grandiose sum for many of these purchases. The duo has seen an increased appetite for fractionalized ownership, citing a recent Penfolds cask purchased and shared by a group of friends.

“The ability to fractionalize ownership with tokens is another reason why NFTs make so much sense for this industry,” says Sam. “The other interesting part about casks is you can own a collection without having it physically and can sell that onwards with relative ease before bottling.”

“Our goal is to democratize high-end spirits and address issues for existing and potential consumers,” Dov concludes. “Blockchain and NFTs are the future and the vehicle by which we solve many of the growing pains in the industry.”

(Source of news: https://www.forbes.com/sites/katedingwall/2022/01/10/hennessy-enters-the-nft-space-with-226000-release/?sh=1adac4cf35a0)