[popeye include=”2453″ exclude=”1870″]

WE’RE A FEW WEEKS INTO THE NEW YEAR, and undoubtedly many of you have already broken resolutions and slipped back in to habits of yore. Yet, while the idea of “a fresh start” is idyllic, I have always fashioned myself to think of this time more as a twofold opportunity to spur development on things I’ve already set in motion, as well as a period to reflect on what I did well previously-and continue doing it.

February and March are without question an odd time of year; although (geographically speaking) we’re not faced with the pangs of eluding a lengthy “winter,” we’re still in the slight doldrums preceded by spring (with its vibrant colors). Holidays-minus the chocolate, lingerie and oyster-fueled Valentine’s Day-are scant, and reasons to celebrate are few and far between.

For me, it’s these times that I cherish. When the world seemingly puts its head down and cranks the gears, the low rumble acts as white noise to my collective spirit, allowing for the creativity to gurgle to the surface. I think you’ll find this notion true of other artists and creative folk, if you have the chance to delve deep into conversation with one as we have throughout this issue of HILuxury.

This challenging economy spurred Tracey Kehler and Dan Kokubun to hone in on their artistic skills at a time when only those truly seeking a functional work of art would build a custom motorcycle. Their Kingdom Customs has flourished because of this entrepreneurial spirit.

Likewise, Chad Michael Allenbaugh spent the time when mainstream media was churning out reports of mortgage losses and financial sluggishness to oversee the completion of his prized new yacht in Bordeaux-which he then sailed to Hawai’i-in time for our photo shoot (and a few über-VIPs to charter). As we stood on the teak decks of his 58-foot Beneteau (the first of its kind in North America), listening to stories of his sails with the likes of Mohammed Ali and President Clinton, it wasn’t hard to see how the well-heeled keep their priorities in check.

Luxury living is about making the best of what you have, in an elegant, classy nature. If you haven’t heard, glitz and glam are “out”; understated charm (always a trend in Hawai’i), tasteful presentation and a demure demeanor seem to be en vogue. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Which brings us nicely to our cover story, on the seventh generation maker of Hennessy Cognacs, Maurice Hennessy. Some might wonder why we put a business-minded fellow on our cover (after a run of global sports celebrities, actors and world-renown chefs whose faces turn pages). But consider this: Hennessy’s family has been blending spirits since the 17th century, without cessation, to become one of the most continually successful retail businesses of all time. When I think about something he said to me during our daylong interview-that it takes vintages of cognac from 5- to 200 years to magically blend the perfect bottle, with each “formula” changing from one year to the next-it is no wonder that Hennessy is a part of the biggest retail conglomerate in the world (LVMH).

Whether your creative spirit is kick-started with a new 1200-cc bike, a sail up the Napali Coast on a yacht worthy of the president, or a snifter of centuries-old cognac, keep in mind it’s simply the notion that we have the ability to partake in such extravagances that make every moment an opportunity. Enjoy each one.

With Aloha,
Brian Berusch
Editorial Director