Highland Scotch whisky distillery The Glenturret has unveiled The Glenturret Eight Decades. The £80,000 ($100,000) single malt has been created to mark the 80th birthday of celebrated American artist James Turrell.
The decanter for Eight Decades was designed by Turrell in collaboration with crystal maker Lalique. This is the third time the artist has worked with the French company, and his first whisky bottle design.
The Glenturret whisky maker Bob Dalgarno drew on conversations with Turrell in creating the whisky for Eight Decades, selecting eight casks of single malt distilled in a period spanning 1987 to 1998. Each of the whiskies was chosen to represent a different aspect of Turrell’s life and career.
The result is said to have aromas of dark dried fruit, chocolate orange, ginger cake and red berries. The palate combines gentle wood spices, rich fruit cake laced with treacle and honeycomb.
According to The Glenturret, the project required ‘an immense amount’ of design work, including drawings, mould manufacturing, hot glass trials and prototypes. The complexity of the design, which has a neck injected with violet-coloured crystal, created technical difficulties for the Lalique factory in Alsace.
The pyramidal shape of the deep blue crystal stopper was inspired by ancient Egypt and its monuments, in which light served ceremonial purposes. Only 80 decanters will be available worldwide.
‘The collaboration with Lalique and James Turrell makes perfect sense when you recall that René Lalique was known as the “sculptor of light”,’ said Lalique CEO and chairman Silvio Denz.
Turrell, who celebrated his 80th birthday on 6 May, added: ‘I love a single malt whisky. I described the whisky my father enjoyed as an inspiration for the team at The Glenturret. My father’s description of civilisation was a fine whisky and a good cigar.
‘There is also the idea to relate the decanter to the work in crystal I have previously completed with Silvio and Lalique – I wanted this piece to have the same sensibility as the perfume bottles. A tribute to Egypt, pyramids and stupas, these architectural forms are cross-cultural. They move something deep within me.’
The Glenturret has claims to be Scotland’s oldest working distillery, dating back to 1763. It was acquired in 2019 by a joint venture between Lalique and Swiss entrepreneur Hansjörg Wyss, the company’s second-largest shareholder.
Bottled at 41.5%, non chill-filtered and naturally coloured, The Glenturret Eight Decades is priced at £80,000 ($100,000) per decanter. It will be available for pre-order during May by emailing email@example.com, or by contacting the Lalique shops on Conduit Street and in Burlington Arcade, London.