Duyen & Marc Huynh with De Beers' Daniela Balzano-Hull and the 300-carat Talisman Wonder
The invitation-only evening featured Hennessy cognac tastings.
The table is beautifully set.
Christine & Seepan Parseghian
Quintessentially USA CEO Annastasia Seebohm
Hennessy private client manager Rhonda McDonald explains the process for creating the Paradis Imperial.
The tasting, a rarity seldom experienced
Frosch Travel's Richard Leibman, Regal Wings CEO Eli Ostreicher
Wine expert Denman Moody, Leighann Farrelly, Annastasia Seebohm
The 300-carat, $1.5 million Talisman Wonder from De Beers
Chef Brandi Key, who prepared the out-of-this-world dinner
Daniela Balzano-Hull of De Beers and Juliana Fitzpatrick of Quintessentially.
De Beers' Pooja Johari, Duyen & Marc Huynh
Diamonds from De Beers
The dinner table setting at The Dunlavy for a handful of special invitation-only guests
Diamonds from De Beers
The four course dinner begins
The beautiful table setting in gold and white
Charles Fick, Adriana Angulo and guest
First Course: Roasted brioche with verjus apricot, point reyes bleu, grape reduction
Second course: Salt-roasted prawn, meyer lemon-lebne risotto, sweet onion butter, bottarge
Third course: Seared duck breast with wild mushrooms and foie-gras-almond fondue, burnt orange gastrique
Dessert: Cardamon vacherin with honeycomb semifreddo, candied citrus, dried fruit gel, spiced graham cracker
The Baccarat crystalline glass decanter with crystal cabochon that tops the 18-karat gold and silver collar
The cognac and cigar display before the sun set
After-dinner Hennessy cognac tasting on The Dunlavy terrace
When LVMH siblings De Beers and Hennessy teamed up with global luxury lifestyle business Quintessentially for a little night frolic at The Dunlavy, the result was nothing less than spectacular. Clearly, the gods of affluence had bestowed their blessings on the intimate gathering of sophisticates, who, though accustomed to the best of everything, were in awe.
Millions in magnificent diamonds were on display. Hennessy’s rare and remarkable Paradis Impérial was generously poured. And chef Brandi Key spun her culinary magic for an unforgettable four-course dinner. All of it taking place in the glass Dunlavy, laced with a score of gleaming crystal chandeliers and offering spectacular sunset views of Buffalo Bayou Park.
The beauty of the evening’s partnership between De Beers and the French cognac house was explained by both Houstonian Rhonda McDonald, private client manager for Hennessy, and Daniela Balzano-Hull, director of the De Beers store on Madison Avenue. The precision and art of selection involved in creating exquisite diamond pieces, they allowed, mirrors the process required for creation of the stunning cognac, a blend of 19th and 20th century eaux-de-vie.
While Balzano-Hull addressed the $3.5 million in diamonds on display, including the eye-popping Talisman Wonder with its 300 carats of diamonds in the stone’s various manifestations, McDonald walked guests through the process of achieving the Paradis Impérial and presented samples of the cognac as it developed in the process.
These two seldom-experienced presentations were orchestrated by Quintessentially for members and potential members of what is basically a private club for those enjoying exceptional wealth. “We look after wealthy individuals 24/7, 365,” says Annastasia Seebohm, CEO of Quintessentially USA. “Partnering with some of the world’s best brands such as Hennessy and De Beers, we always look for incredible experiences and settings to which we can bring interested people.”
She added that the London based company has been providing exceptional experiences for people of high net worth since its founding in 2000. They have included such phenomenal happenings as arranging dinner on an iceberg and taking over Times Square with a flash dance for a surprise marriage proposal. As the company’s website notes, “Whether you are a thrill-seeker looking for extraordinary adventure or prefer to indulge in the most lavish and divine experiences, our network of contacts across the globe enable us to make dreams a reality.”
Seebohm adds that with four U.S. offices among its stable of 65 internationally, the firm is considering adding a Houston arm.
As a bonus for those with ample discretionary income as well as an eye on the bottom line, Eli Ostreicher, founder and CEO of Regal Wings, a B2B luxury air service, jetted in from New York to make a brief presentation on his company that “specializes in premium travel at the right price.”
Among the special guests were wine writer and collector Denman Moody, Frosch Travel’s Richard Liebman, bon vivants Duyen and Marc Huynh, and litigation attorney Seepan Parseghian.