Whisky Bottles for Queen and Country

This year the UK is in the spotlights of the world. First of all we have the Olympics and secondly, but not less important, it marks the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
On 6th February 1952, whilst staying in a remote part of Kenya, Princess Elizabeth received news of her father’s death and of her own accession to the throne. Her tour was abandoned and she flew back to London, where she was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. So on that day Princess Elizabeth became Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II when she acceded to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and became Head of the Commonwealth.
What better way to toast such a milestone than with a fine whisky of similar vintage. And with, important for this blog, presented in the most beautiful and exorbitant packaging. Glass bottles crafted by unique professionals.

Johnnie Walker’s Diamond Jubilee Scotch Whisky
From all whisky brands out there to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Johnnie Walker & Sons, the Scotch Whisky distillers by Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen, holds a special place.

Only 60 bottles of the Diamond Jubilee Scotch Whisky, made by Johnnie Walker, have been produced for sale, and are being offered to known collectors of rare and expensive whiskies. One will be gifted to the Queen and the others will be sold around the world for GBP 100,000 (USD 160,000) each.

The bottling, which took place 60 years to the day since the Queen’s accession on 6 February 1952, is a blend of rare malt and grain Scotch whiskies distilled in and maturing since 1952.

Johnnie Walker’s Diamond Jubilee Scotch Whisky is not just a blend of whiskies, but of a host of different crafts. The crystal diamond-shaped decanter is from Baccarat, its silver collar and stopper has been hand-crafted by Hamilton & Inches in Edinburgh and it resides inside a cabinet which has been made with wood from two of the Queen’s estates. There are two hand-etched Cumbrian crystal glasses and the presentation is completed with a white leather hand-bound book personalized by the Queen’s calligrapher Sally Mangum.

The diamond-shaped Baccarat crystal decanter stands on a crystal base with six radial legs to reflect the decades of the Queen’s reign, and is adorned with Britannia silver, selected for its purity.

Each edition also includes a pair of lead Cumbria Crystal glasses engraved by Philip Lawson Johnston and a commemorative artefact book, hand bound by Laura West at her Isle of Skye bindery and personalised for each owner by Sally Mangum, Calligrapher By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen.

All the elements are housed in a chest made by the cabinet makers at N.E.J. Stevenson, incorporating oak from Sandringham to echo the whisky marrying casks and Caledonian pine from The Queen’s Balmoral Estate.

A minimum donation of £1 million from the sales of Diamond Jubilee by John Walker & Sons will be given to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), a registered charity in England, which provides grants to British craftspeople and in doing so, keeps many highly specialized trades alive.

Of course there are more whisky distillers with Jubilee versions. Let’s have a look at Glen Grant. A brand I very much love as it is the only malt whisky I can buy (for a reasonable price) here in the Amazon delta. The rest is just scrap. So, Glen Grant’s Diamond Jubilee Whisky.

Glen Grant 60 Years Old Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Whisky
Gordon & MacPhail,  the Elgin based and family-run single malt specialist, has released just 85 bottles of Glen Grant 60 Years Old Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Whisky. They are on sale for the GBP 7,995 (USD 12,660). The 60-year-old malt from Glen Grant was originally distilled on 2 February 1952, just four days before the Queen acceded the throne.

The Jubilee Whisky is presented in a pyramid shaped crystal decanter adorned with a diamond shaped stopper. The crystal decanter and diamond shaped stopper have been created by the family owned company, Glencairn Crystal. Each decanter is expertly engraved (the script in-filled with silver) and uniquely numbered. The decanter carries an engraved crown with a sparking Swarovski crystal, set at the meeting point of the crowns two arches. A silver collar, placed around the neck of the decanter completes the presentation.

Two pieces of silver, created by Edinburgh based silversmith ScottishSilver, adorn the Single Malt. The first is an elegant Sterling silver collar engraved with the number “60”. The second is a Sterling silver stopper sealing the precious contents within the decanter. The silver stopper, which has the familiar G&M seal of quality stamped on it, can be removed and replaced with the diamond shaped crystal stopper should the owner so desire.

The decanter is packaged in a hand-crafted box made of Scottish Elm, felled a short distance from Holyrood House, the Queen’s official Scottish residence.Each box has been skilfully created by cabinet maker Ross Samson and his team at his workshop in East Kilbride. For over 12 years Ross has created a wide variety of furniture and cabinets and is a founding member of the Scottish Furniture Makers Association.

The wood was kiln dried for 6-8 weeks before arriving at Ross’s workshop. The planks were prepared and measured before being cut to size. Owners of this hand-crafted product will note the continuous grain on four sides of the box. Mitre lock joints were prepared and the diamond shapes were meticulously cut out using a jig saw. The glass panels were fastened in place before all sides of the box were carefully glued together.

The box was then cut to create two sections and locks were fitted. The box was then engraved and in-filled with a silver wax made from beeswax and a metallic pigment. To protect the wood, a handmade stain – made from bitumen and orange oil – was painstakingly applied. Finally the box was hand rubbed using wire wool. Harris Tweed was added to the base of the box.

Harris Tweed is the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament. The law decrees that genuine Harris Tweed must be made from pure virgin wool which has been dyed and spun on the islands and hand-woven at the home of the weaver, in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 60 Years Old nestles in luxurious, purple Harris Tweed, which lines the hand-crafted box. A jacket made from the same material protects the box and the precious contents.

The certificate to accompany Glen Grant 60 Years Old has been created by Piccolo Press. Based in Nairn in northern Scotland, Piccolo Press has retained the timeless skills of letterpress and engraving.
One side of the certificate uses amethyst coloured card and has the Gordon & MacPhail stag’s head logo die-stamped in silver. The flip side of the certificate has been die-stamped in silver, and letterpress printed in amethyst on white card. Once the two pieces of card have been laminated together a silver gilt edge has been added. An envelope, beautifully die-stamped in silver, completes the presentation.

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