Luxury Scotch whisky inside one of a kind glass sculpture sells for over £90,000 at auction 

An extremely old and rare bottle of whisky has sold at auction - with proceeds going to the V&A Dundee.

Published 3rd Jun 2024
Updated 3 rd Jun 2024

The Dalmore Luminary No.2 – The Rare co-conceived by Melodie Leung of Zaha Hadid Architects and award-winning whisky makers Gregg Glass and Richard Paterson OBE sold for over £90,000 at Sotheby's.

A decanter of Luminary 2 - a 49 Year Old Single Malt from The Dalmore Distillery - housed in a unique glass sculpture co-created with Melodie Leung, director at Zaha Hadid Architects, sold for £93,750 / $117,400 which, after the hammer price, comes in at £75,000.

The Dalmore Luminary No.2 ‘The Rare’ is the second release in The Luminary Series, a three-part partnership between The Dalmore and V&A Dundee. Melodie Leung is the talent and creative collaborator behind this exceptionally rare release. 

The Dalmore will donate all proceeds of the £75,000 hammer price from the sale to their long-term partner, V&A Dundee, Scotland’s design museum, in support of its mission to inspire and empower, through design. 

V&A Dundee and The Dalmore have worked closely together since 2020. The support to date from The Dalmore, including a donation from Luminary No.1, has helped the V&A to reach more people in the community with exciting exhibitions and activities that enhances creative opportunities and accessibility, including the current major free exhibition Photo City: How Images Shape the Urban World (on until 29 October 2024).

The Dalmore luminary 2 auction

Luminary No.2 ‘The Rare’ comprises a 49 Year Old Highland Single Malt whisky, one of only three bottles to be made, uniquely housed in a striking glass sculpture, designed by Leung and made of one continuous piece of glass, inspired by and depicting the layers of age and the interactions of flavour found in the whisky making process and the whisky itself.

Incredibly high-risk and taking hundreds of hours of work, the creation of the glass work by Fiaz Elson from The Glass Foundry combined modern techniques with centuries-old craft to create the sculpture, placing it in kiln in a handmade mould and taking the glass to temperature before lowering one degree at a time across a tense 12 week period. 

Weighing a substantial 80kg, the sculpture’s liquid-like texture and gloss finish comes from over 500 hours of hand polishing. 

‘The Rare’ whisky itself was created in a collaboration between Leung and The Dalmore’s master whisky makers Gregg Glass and Richard Paterson OBE and was matured in American white oak ex-Bourbon casks and finished in an assemblage, encompassing a rare Port Colheita Pipe 1963, an exceptionally rare 30 Year Old Apostoles Sherry Cask and Select Bourbon Barrels.

The whisky was further finished in a unique 1951 / Virgin oak hybrid cask, air dried at The Dalmore and bespoke hand-toasted by Gregg Glass himself. 

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Only three bottles and two sculptures have and will ever be created. In addition to the set sold at auction at Sotheby’s, a second complete set will be held in archive at the distillery’s Highland home and one further decanter will be saved for a final Luminary Series Compendium to come in the future, which will include all three releases.

Leonie Bell, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “The Dalmore and V&A Dundee partnership is ambitious. It brings our worlds of design, whisky, internationalism, innovation, and a deep commitment to celebrate Scotland’s unique icons, landscapes and crafts together.

"The Dalmore are generously donating the entire proceeds from the auction of the unique sculpture and decanter. This collaboration is invaluable to V&A Dundee and supports our work to generate joy, spark curiosity and to deepen our social impact through design.”

The Dalmore luminary 2 auction

Melodie Leung, Luminary No.2, added: “Creating both the sculpture and whiskies with Gregg and Richard for the second edition of The Dalmore’s Luminary Series was a truly fascinating collaboration.

"I am delighted that collectively we’re supporting the V&A Dundee in their invaluable work inspiring the next generation of designers.”

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Steven Pearson, Chief Marketing Officer of Whyte & Mackay, said: “The Luminary series offers The Dalmore the unique opportunity to not only support our long-standing partner V&A Dundee, but to collaborate with leading architectural figures to combine the art of whisky making and design, resulting in the creation of both a whisky and sculpture, that is not only exceptionally rare, but interesting and rich in story.

“Watching The Dalmore’s Master Whisky Makers, Gregg Glass and Richard Paterson OBE, work with the incredibly talented Melodie Leung was a sight to behold.

"It was remarkable to see the development of a whisky, through the eyes of an architect and watch the sculpture take shape, with Gregg and Richard’s influences incorporated. Luminary No.2 has been a true partnership between Melodie, Gregg and Richard and this project will have an everlasting influence on our design philosophy.” 

Jonny Fowle, Global Head of Spirits, Sotheby’s, said: “This is a thoroughly deserved result for a true collector’s piece that combines to brilliant effect a highly aged liquid, a high concept design and a worthy cause.

"The Dalmore is an icon of the whisky world and this second iteration in their Luminary series encapsulates all the key elements collectors are looking for in today’s premium whisky market.”

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Dalmore Distillery, Dalmore, Alness, UK
Dalmore Distillery, Dalmore, Alness, UK, IV17 0UT
Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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