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The Dalmore raises £75,000 for V&A Dundee with rare whisky auction

An architect worked with the distillery’s whisky masters to create a unique glass sculpture that encircles the bottle.

A rare bottle of 49-year-old Dalmore single malt Scotch whisky housed in a unique glass sculpture designed by Zaha Hadid Architects has sold for £93,500 at Sotheby’s auction house.

The distillery is donating all of the £75,000 hammer price to the Victoria & Albert (V&A) design museum in Dundee. The Dalmore began a four-year partnership with V&A Dundee in 2020 to celebrate ‘design, creativity, and vision’.

Dundee – which was named as the UK’s inaugural ‘city of design’ by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in 2014 – is the first place outside London to host a branch of the V&A.

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As well as its historic fame for ‘jute, jam, and journalism’, in recent decades Dundee has become one of the centres for designers working in the UK’s computer games industry.

V&A Dundee opened in 2018 as the centrepiece in a £1bn redevelopment of the city’s waterfront. As part of the partnership, The Dalmore launched ‘The Luminary Series’, which will be released in three batches, each one containing two whiskies, named ‘The Rare’ and ‘The Collectable’.

The first batch – which was created by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who designed V&A Dundee’s building, and his protégé, Maurizio Mucciola – was released in 2022, with this year’s whisky marking the second instalment.

The 49-year-old Highland single malt contained in The Luminary No 2 ‘The Rare’ was matured in ex-bourbon barrels made from American white oak. The whisky was then divided for finishing in a 1963 colheita Port pipe, a 30-year-old Apostoles Sherry cask, and a further selection of bourbon barrels.

Those constituent parts were then brought back together again in a 1951 virgin oak hybrid cask, which was air-dried at The Dalmore and hand-toasted by Gregg Glass, the distillery’s master whisky maker.

Glass and master distiller Richard ‘The Nose’ Paterson worked on The Luminary No 2 with Melodie Leung – a director at architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects, who designed the sculpture, which was then made by master glass blower Fiaz Elson.

Only three bottles have been filled with the whisky – in addition to the one sold at auction, the second will remain in The Dalmore’s library, while the third will be sold alongside the other two whiskies in The Luminary Series after the third batch is released.

‘The Dalmore and V&A Dundee partnership is ambitious – it brings our worlds of design, whisky, internationalism, innovation, and a deep commitment to celebrate Scotland’s unique icons, landscapes, and crafts together,’ said V&A Dundee director Leonie Bell.

‘This collaboration is invaluable to V&A Dundee and supports our work to generate joy, spark curiosity, and to deepen our social impact through design.’

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s global head of spirits, added: ‘This is a thoroughly-deserved result for a true collector’s piece that combines to brilliant effect a highly-aged liquid, a high-concept design, and a worthy cause.

‘The Dalmore is an icon of the whisky world and this second iteration in [its] Luminary series encapsulates all the key elements collectors are looking for in today’s premium whisky market.’

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