Scotland’s Glenturret Distillery recently announced a collaboration with Lalique and renowned American artist James Turrell on one of its newest expressions, Eight Decades.
This marks the first time Turrell, known globally for working with light and space to create artworks that engage viewers, has worked on a whisky decanter.
That new decanter, and the rare liquid inside, was presented for the first time at the new Lalique Art Gallery in Burlington Arcade, London in mid-May.
A statement from Glenturret explained that the Eight Decades decanter is a limited-edition (80 bottles) made in celebration of the Turrell’s 80th year and it’s a tribute to generations of craftsmanship at both The Glenturret distillery (since 1763), and Lalique’s master glassmakers (since 1888).
The statement also noted that this is the third time Turrell has collaborated with Lalique, following the launch of two perfume bottles and light panels. These pieces of art are on a much smaller scale, as his works are usually large-scale, immersive, or temporary.
For Eight Decades, the decanter design process saw drawings go to manufacturing, hot glass trials and prototypes.
Lalique officials noted that the shape and color of the bottle, which has a neck injected with violet crystal, created a technical difficulty for Lalique artisans in the factory in Alsace. But they ensured that the crystal would be evenly distributed to offer a transparency that would magnify the amber-colored whisky inside.
Glenturret whisky makers described the decanter as having flowing curves combined with tapered lines and a rectangular base. The pyramidal shape of the deep blue crystal stopper is inspired by Egypt and its monuments in which light served ceremonial purposes.
Silvio Denz, CEO and chairman of Lalique, said, “The collaboration with Lalique and James Turrell makes perfect sense when you recall that René Lalique was known as the ‘sculptor of light.’ This collaboration brings together James Turrell’s universe, the house of Lalique and The Glenturret in an emotional journey and one of which I am extremely proud.”
The whisky itself was selected by Glenturret’s Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno. He drew from eight casks, ranging from 1987 through to 1998, each representing a different facet of the eight decades of James Turrell’s life, his character and vocation.
Dalgarno’s blender’s notes show the resulting whisky to have aromas of dark dried fruit, chocolate orange, ginger cake, red berries, fresh apples, and softer oak.
On the palate, he explained, there are wood spices, fruit cake laced with treacle, and honeycomb balanced with oak. It has a long, mellow finish. The whisky clocks in at 41.5% ABV.
The artist, Turrell, said, “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 civilization was a fine whisky and a good cigar.”
He added, “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.”
Glenturret managing director, John Laurie, said 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.”
Eight Decades has a price of £80,000.
Read the full article at Glenturret, Artist James Turrell Collaborate On ‘Eight Decades’ Whisky Project