Celebrating the journey of globally-acclaimed artist James Turrell with a unique fusion of artistry, whisky, and glass craftsmanship.
In the realm of whisky and art, The Glenturret holds a significant position as Scotland’s oldest active distillery. It’s latest unveiling, Eight Decades, symbolises a remarkable collaboration with the French luxury crystal maker Lalique and internationally respected artist James Turrell.
Turrell, renowned for his transformative light and space installations, engages with the depths of human perception, challenging and intriguing in equal measure.
Unveiling Eight Decades: A Triumphant Union of Craftsmanship
This collaboration was first revealed at the recently opened Lalique Art Gallery in London’s esteemed Burlington Arcade on 16th May. The Eight Decades decanter, an ultra-exclusive edition limited to just eighty worldwide, is a testament to the artist’s 80 years of life, illuminating an enduring legacy.
Both The Glenturret distillery, with its roots dating back to 1763, and Lalique’s mastery of glassmaking since 1888, echo generations of craftsmanship. The partnership marks the third time Turrell has worked with Lalique.
Previously, he had launched two perfume bottles and exquisite light panels, thus forming a perfect artistic triptych. This is a first for Turrell, whose oeuvre typically consists of grand, immersive installations, to work on such a small, tangible scale.
The Complexity of Crafting Eight Decades
The conception and creation of Eight Decades were laden with complexities. From detailed sketches to mould construction, conducting hot glass experiments to devising prototypes, the process required immense dedication and expertise.
The decanter’s design, characterised by a seamless silhouette of flowing curves and tapered lines atop a rectangular base, showcases a violet crystal-infused neck. The intricacies of this feature posed significant technical challenges for Lalique’s artisans, demanding a homogeneous distribution of the crystal to magnify the whisky’s amber hues perfectly.
The deep blue crystal stopper, shaped akin to a pyramid, draws inspiration from the luminous ceremonial traditions of ancient Egypt. An emotional journey, this collaboration brilliantly resonates with René Lalique’s epithet as the ‘sculptor of light’, adding a new dimension to the illustrious legacy of Lalique and The Glenturret.
The Amber Elixir: A Sip of Art in Liquid Form
Nestled within the extraordinary decanter is a unique whisky, hand-selected by The Glenturret’s Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno. Inspired by his engaging conversations with James Turrell, Dalgarno carefully chose whisky from eight different casks, each echoing different phases of Turrell’s illustrious life, his enigmatic personality, and his artistic journey.
The result is a rich whisky that encapsulates the artistry in liquid form. Its aroma carries hints of dark-dried fruits, chocolate orange, ginger cake, red berries, fresh apples, and softer oak. The palate introduces gentle wood spices and rich fruit cake interlaced with treacle and honeycomb, harmonised with burnished oak, offering a long, mellow finish.
James Turrell commented that “I love a single malt whisky. I described the whisky my father enjoyed as 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.”
John Laurie, Managing Director, The Glenturret said, “It is a proud moment for us to be working with James Turrell – a lot of hard work and emotions have gone into designing and creating this decanter. The Eight Decades decanter encapsulates The Glenturret’s very essence: an understated aesthetic, crafted by many talented hands who are all custodians of the skills required to create such a beautiful decanter and liquid. The design of Eight Decades is a departure from more traditional whisky bottles and a homage to the artist as it commemorates his eightieth birthday – we feel it is a piece of art just as much as it is a whisky decanter holding a delicious liquid.”
Acquiring Eight Decades
Priced at a sumptuous £80,000, pre-orders for the limited Eight Decades whisky decanter commence in May. Interested patrons can reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with Lalique Boutiques on Conduit Street and Burlington Arcade in London.
With an ABV of 41.5%, non-chill filtered and of natural colour, the whisky offers an unforgettable olfactory and gustatory experience. Embark on a journey that begins with dark dried fruits, chocolate orange, ginger cake, red berries, fresh apples, and softer oak. The taste unravels with gentle wood spices, rich fruit cake with hints of treacle and honeycomb, and burnished oak ensuring a long, mellow finish.
In conclusion, the Eight Decades whisky decanter is a remarkable amalgamation of mastery in whisky making, the artistry of James Turrell, and Lalique’s glass craftsmanship – a trophy for those who appreciate fine art, luxury, and the legacy of human endeavour.