The Dalmore launch second whiskies in Luminaries series - in partnership with the V&A Dundee

The Highland whisky distillery has launched Luminaries 2 - the second in the Luminary series, which is curated in partnership with the V&A Dundee.
Melodie Leung, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects, with Gregg Glass, Master Whisky Maker at The DalmoreMelodie Leung, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects, with Gregg Glass, Master Whisky Maker at The Dalmore
Melodie Leung, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects, with Gregg Glass, Master Whisky Maker at The Dalmore

Whisky and art often go hand in hand. From bespoke bottles to eye-catching labels, our national drink is often described as an art form in itself. These days, old and rare whiskies are being collected much like old and rare artworks, for display and, eventually, resale. One brand that’s taking this link, and really pushing the boundaries, is The Dalmore who, as part of their ongoing collaboration with the V&A in Dundee, recently introduced two new whiskies to their Luminary series. The series, which started in 2022 with Lumanirary 1, seeks to bring together luminaries from the worlds of whisky and architectural design. Luminary 1, which was launched in 2022, was the release of three “once-in-a-lifetime” bottles of 48-year-old Dalmore, each of which is housed in a bespoke wood and steel sculpture designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. One of these is still on show in the V&A Dundee, one was auctioned - with all proceeds going to the V&A and another was kept by The Dalmore. A ‘collectable’ 15 year old Dalmore was also made available to buy, for £250, at this time.

The second chapter of the series followed a similar pattern - with three bottles of a ‘rare’ whisky, this time a 49 year old Dalmore. One will be auctioned off, along with a ‘collectible’ - a 16 year old Dalmore whisky made available for general sale.

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The Dalmore Luminary - The Rare - 2024 Edition sees the whisky and its sculptural housing designed by Melodie Leung, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects, together with Gregg Glass, Master Whisky Maker at The Dalmore, and Master Distiller Richard Paterson OBE. This 49 year whisky was matured in American White Oak ex Bourbon casks and finished in a blend of Port Colhieta 1963, Apostoles sherry, select Bourbon and a unique 1951/Virgin Oak hybrid cask. Leung and The Dalmore whisky makers have worked side by side and the result of the close collaboration is two intriguing new releases that creatively stretch the signature styles of Zaha Hadid Architects and The Dalmore. Both of these promise to delight both whisky and design enthusiasts in, the Dalmore team say, a fascinating exploration of the interaction of flavour and form. And both whiskies are entirely inspired by Melodie and the memories that came to her when she was nosing and sampling casks, specifically a roasted chestnut note, which Leung recalled from her time in Hong Kong. While the ground-breaking glass sculpture that surrounds ‘the rare’ is completely constructed around the nature of whisky - and reflects the movements and shapes of swirling the precious liquid in a glass. This sculpture was made in close collaboration with Fiaz Elson from The Glass Foundry, one of the few master glass artists with the necessary experience and vision to manipulate glass to the desired form. It was in the kiln at The Glass Foundry for 12 weeks and weighs 80 kilograms. In a process that took over 500 hours, the sculpture was then fine-polished by hand across the entire surface area to achieve the liquid texture and gloss finish. It’s something that really needs to be seen to be appreciated, and those curious can visit it at the V&A in Dundee.

Melodie Leung, Director at Zaha Hadid ArchitectsMelodie Leung, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects
Melodie Leung, Director at Zaha Hadid Architects

All of these carefully crafted elements of The Dalmore Luminary 2024 Edition were conceived collaboratively, with Glass, Paterson and Leung working symbiotically to bring the whiskies to life. Glass said: “This was a true meeting of minds, and the new releases beautifully express the shared journey we’ve all been on. While crafting our two new whiskies, we used the technique of time nurtured carefully to transform through blending to elevate The Dalmore to a new level. Flavour, colour and form meet together in a holistic sensory experience with swirls of texture, depth, complexity and nuance. We are delighted to finally be sharing these special whiskies with the world.” Leung added: “Experiencing The Dalmore’s outstanding craftsmanship first hand and being initiated into the complex world of whisky making by Gregg and Richard provided extremely fertile ground for design inspiration. The sculpture we created for The Rare was inspired by our fascinating discussions around the interaction and flow of flavour notes in the whisky-making process. It mirrors the multiple layers of ageing and blending that went into creating this whisky, which is the exquisite product of nature channelled over time.”

The whiskies were revealed as a special gala night at the V&A in Dundee in March, which followed on from a global event at Gleneagles, in which press and trade were welcomed to hear from Glass, Paterson and Leung about the releases. When asked how this collaboration has impacted both parties Glass said: “the most beautiful part was just asking Melodie questions about her experience. The note of chestnuts on the streets of Hong Kong, just allowed us to create something totally unique that will never be created again. What I'm going to take away from this is a different approach to whisky making overtime. The influence of this partnership is going to change my whisky-making forevermore.”

Leung added: “It's absolutely reinforced the trust that I have in the process of collaborating with people who are exceptionally at the top of their fields, and the potential of what this type of collaboration can bring out.” While Paterson said: “what we take from this is what whisky is all about. Passion elevates us all to achieve greater things and you can only do that with people. You want to share whisky, this is what it’s about. If Melodie had not been that happy personality of friendliness, warmth and love, we would never have achieved what we have.”

While only one person is going to be able to own and enjoy ‘the rare’, which will be auctioned by Sotheby’s in May, 20,000 sets of ‘the collectable’ will go on sale at select luxury and specialist retailers worldwide as well as global travel retail with an RRP of £275. This whisky features a small amount of exceptionally rare peated Dalmore spirit, and was matured in Bourbon casks and finished in a blend of Graham’s Tawny Port pipes and Apostoles sherry casks, with a small portion in peated, hand selected, ex refill Bourbon casks.



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