Here we go continuing our voyage through Scotland, discovering and admiring the extravagant creations in glass bottles of some whisky distilleries (click here for part 1). As promised we will have a look at the Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute from the Chivas Brothers, the Bowmore 40 Years Old and the Bowmore 1981 from the oldest distillery of Islay, William Grant & Sons’ Glenfiddich 50 Year Old Single Malt and at last the ‘crême de la crême’ the 64 years old Macallan in Lalique, marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of René Lalique, one of the world’s foremost crystal artisans.
Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute
Chivas Brothers unveiled the Royal Salute 62 Gun Salute, the finest whisky in its Royal Salute range, first created as the Ultimate Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation in 1953. The work of four generations of master distillers, the blend is made from various whiskies at least 40 years old, and it takes its name from the ‘62 Gun Salute’ held each year at the Tower of London to mark the Queen’s coronation.
Royal Salute is using bespoke hand-crafted decanters by Devon based Dartington Crystal for its most prestigious blend. Dartington Crystal, the last surviving volume glass makers in the UK, made each decanter by hand at its workshops in Torrington. Using the finest midnight blue crystal, each piece is decorated with 24 carat gold and crowned with a cut crystal stopper, the result of 40 hours of artisanal craftsmanship.
Limited Edition 62 Gun Salute Whiskey is on sale and priced at USD 2,200 per bottle.
Bowmore 40 Years Old and the Bowmore 1981
Founded in 1779, Bowmore is the oldest distillery on Islay, one of the Scottish isles which make up the region known as the ‘Islands’ in the lexicon of whisky. It’s one of only a few distilleries anywhere which still produces its own floor malted barley, hand-turned by traditional wooden malt shovels. The water is drawn from the Laggan River, with its rich peaty overtones, and it’s the same Islay peat that fires the malt drying kiln.
Just 53 bottles of the Bowmore 40 Years Old are released. Every bottle is a work of art. Designed by two of Scotland’s foremost glass-blowers Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burns, each one is hand-blown and sculpted using molten glass and stones collected from the Islay shore. No two bottles are the same. Hamilton and Inches, one of Scotland’s most prestigious jewellers, added the finishing touch to each bottle with a hand-engraved solid silver collar. Finally the whisky is presented on a polished slab of slate providing a fitting plinth to display the bottle at its best.
Also launched is the Bowmore 1981, the first in the Bowmore vintage series. This rare and limited release of only 402 bottles worldwide is presented in a wooden gift box with a ‘weather-beaten’ brown leather strap and copper buckle, each accompanied by a hand-signed and numbered certificate by the distillery manager.
Priced at USD 10,400 and USD 450 a bottle respectively, the whiskies are collectibles.
Glenfiddich 50 Year Old Single Malt
William Grant & Sons is an independent family-owned Scottish distiller, founded in 1886. Today, the super-premium spirits company is run by the fifth generation of the family.
Glenfiddich, the world’s most awarded Single Malt Scotch Whisky, launched one of the rarest and most precious expressions of authentic Single Malt Whisky ever: Glenfiddich 50 Year Old will be available in extremely limited supply, with only a handful of bottles available in the USA.
The packaging, rich with authenticity and heritage, reflects the excellence of the whisky. Design cues have been painstakingly taken from archives that record the distillery’s 120 year history; the hand-blown bottles are individually numbered and presented in beautifully hand-stitched, leather-bound cases, which were inspired by William Grant’s personal ledgers.
Since December 2009, Glenfiddich 50 Year Old was available by the glass exclusively at three U.S. hotels (New York’s Mandarin Oriental hotel, Miami’s Fontainebleau hotel and the Peninsula hotel in Los Angeles), with one additional bottle sold at a charity auction, which proceeds went to Friends of Scotland, the charity founded by Sir Sean Connery, dedicated to advancing contemporary Scottish causes in the United States.
And then finally the ‘crême de la crême’.
The Macallan in Lalique
To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of René Lalique, the founder of one of the world’s foremost crystal artisans, this bottle combines the creativity and craftsmanship of The Macallan and Lalique, resulting in the world’s most valuable decanter of whisky. The decanter, made by Lalique by using the ‘lost wax’ procedure, is a truly unique, one-off piece of art.
After the public unveiling in Paris on 6th April 2010 the decanter went on a world tour to be admired by lovers of ‘objets d’art’ and whisky alike. In each city on the tour a sample of the 64 Year Old Macallan whisky was auctioned with two beautiful Lalique crystal tumblers.
The 1.5l decanter will be offered for auction in co-operation with Sotheby’s on 15th November 2010 in New York at the end of its world tour. All proceeds from the auctions will be donated to charity: water, an organisation dedicated to providing people in developing countries with clean, safe drinking water”
Want a taste of this beautiful whisky. On September 9 in Taipei, a 10cl dram of the whisky raised 1,300,000 Taiwan New Dollars (approximately USD 41,028). So far, The Macallan and Lalique reached Singapore (25 of Oct) and have raised approx USD 115,440, to benefit charity: water, through the sale of 10cl tastes in six cities around the globe.
It is fascinating to see such beautiful hand-crafted bottles, unique and a collectors item. It certainly is fascinating to learn how such an exclusive bottle is crafted (you can’t use the word ‘manufactured’ here). As it is indeed more than extraordinary to see it and for many of us unknown territory, I decided to write an article about the crafting of the “The Macallan and Lalique bottle” with its lost-wax procedure, glass blowing, cutting and polishing of crystal, illustrated with many photos. Coming up within some days, titled :“The making of an extravagant beautiful whisky bottle”.