5 Extraordinary Whiskies And The Amazing Bottles They Deserve
Felipe is an award-winning London-based whisky writer, tastings host, drinks competitions judge, and author. He is also a musician and co-founder of The Rhythm and Booze Project, a duo that fuses live music and whisky through gigs, tasting events and multimedia.
I talk a lot about whisky. How it smells and tastes, where it comes from, how it's produced. But I've never really talked about whisky bottles.
That's why I couldn't resist when my younger brother challenged me to explore the fanciest whisky bottles available (and in a few cases worth more than the liquid inside). So here I offer some of the crazy designs for whisky bottles, almost all of them higher-end luxury or collectors’ whiskies.
- Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Whisky
In 2012, Japanese whisky company Suntory released a series of whisky bottles commemorating the Rolling Stones. The first in the series celebrates the band's 50th anniversary. Consisting of a mix of Yamazaki malts, it also has a little bit of malt that was distilled the year the band began strutting in 1962. The bottle itself has been modelled around the Stones' iconic tongue and lips logo (originally designed by John Pasche). With only 150 bottles available at $6,300 each, it’s a proper collector’s item.
- Bowmore 1957 - 54 year old
This is the oldest Islay whisky ever released - and there are only 12 bottles in existence. The first failed to meet the reserve auction price at Bonham’s when it went on sale in October 2012, but eventually met the minimum price of $160,000 in December, which went to Scottish charities. The bottles themselves were handblown and sculpted by glass artists Brodie Nairn and Nichola Burnsinto, and the bottle is meant to evoke the waves that crash against the distillery. The bottle also features a platinum neck collar and stopper engraved with information about the whisky inside the bottle.
- Highland Park 50 Year Old
Winner of the 2012 World Whiskies Design Award, this $15,000 bottle of whisky was designed by Scottish jeweler and silversmith Maeve Gillies. There are only 275 bottles, intended to celebrate the island of the whisky's production, and has numerous Orcadian features, including a disk of pink Orcadian sandstone carved with the Highland Park logo.
- Macallan 1946
This whisky so far holds the record as the most expensive whisky bottle in the world, sold in 2010 in a Sotheby’s auction in New York for a whopping $460,000 , with all proceeds going to charity. This 64-year-old whisky and the Lalique Cire Perdue decanter bearing it represents a collaboration between Macallan and Lalique, the world’s foremost crystal artisans, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Lalique founder Rene Lalique.
- Diamond Jubilee Blended Scotch Whisky
Celebrating 60 years of Elizabeth II’s reign as Queen of England, this 2012 release by John Walker & Sons (the company behind Johnnie Walker) blends malt and grain whiskies that were all distilled and maturing since 1952, the first year of her reign.
To add a little poetry, the final blend then matured in a cask of English oak from the Queen’s Sandringham estate, and bottled on February 6th 2012, exactly 60 years after her coronation. Appropriately, only 60 bottles exist. The diamond-shaped crystal decanter is produced by Baccarat and includes a pair of engraved crystal glasses. At £120,000, it’s not cheap. The profits from the sales went to the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust.
By Felipe Schrieberg
Felipe is a London-based whisky writer, musician, tastings host, drinks competitions judge, and author. He writes for internationally renowned publications such as Forbes, Whisky Magazine and The Whiskey Wash. He has been awarded the Icons of Whisky Communicator of the Year award at Whisky Magazine's 2022 World Whiskies Awards.
He is the co-founder of The Rhythm and Booze Project, a duo fusing live music and whisky through gigs, tasting events, and multimedia. His past projects encompass performances at the Edinburgh Fringe of the band's own show Two Guys, Three Drams which combined live blues with whisky tasting, and building the world's first bass drum made from an entire Scotch whisky cask with a barrel of Lagavulin.
He is also a judge for the World Whiskies Awards and The Independent Bottlers Challenge. Through his online tastings hosted at The Virtual Whisky Masterclass, he has welcomed over 3,000 guests across 250+ tasting events.
His first book, London Cocktails, is now available worldwide. Follow him on Twitter/Instagram @schriebergfr, or at www.felipeschrieberg.com
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