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Shine Bright Like A Whisky Decanter - 10 Shiny Singles & Sets

Updated: Mar 5


high-value whisky decanters

Image by The Whisky Ardvark


It seems that more people are now investing in collectable whiskies rather than drinking it. Some of these whiskies can quickly double in value, making them an attractive investment opportunity. In response to the growing market demand, distilleries and brand owners are creating more exciting and unique bottlings. This trend has encouraged some to think outside the box, come up with bottlings that are worth collecting, and make great decorative pieces.


We are planning to add some fancy bottlings to our site and learn more about them. Let's get started!


If you want to take a look at some of the other shiny bottlings released in the past, please see our article 21+1 Most Flamboyant Whisky Decanters.



 
  1. Royal Salute - The Platinum Jubilee Edition

Royal Salute - The Platinum Jubilee Edition

Images by Royal Salute/ Edited by The Whisky Ardvark


Oh, the time of the Jubilee! A perfect celebration to release commemorative bottlings.


Over the years, we have seen many distilleries and brands releasing their limited Jubilee editions, and Royal Salute will never disappoint in putting out one - or, on this occasion, 7. To be fair, the brand was created in 1953 to celebrate Her coronation. Pernod Ricard decided to release a bottle for each decade of Queen Elizabeth II's reign to commemorate The Queen's Platinum Jubilee. They were revealed in June 2022 at a lavish banquet at the Tower of London.


The Cullinan V Brooch in Orange

The Queen Mary Brooch in Teal

The Pearl & Diamond Brooch in Pink

The Kent Amethyst Brooch in Purple

The Queen Adelaide's Brooch in Green

The Richmond Brooch in Yellow

The Teck Corsage Brooch in Blue


The blend used in each design is consistent and bottled at 50% ABV. The blend is made from old whiskies from seven distilleries that no longer exist, including Inverleven, Lochside, and Caperdonich. It is then finished for two years in ex-tawny port casks. The Queen's personal brooch collection inspires the designs and features 7 brooches. The colours are influenced by Her Majesty's wardrobe.


Only 21 sets of 7 bottles each were made available worldwide (from 147 bottles produced). Each design costs approximately £30,000. With £30,000, you will get a bottle of the limited-edition Royal Salute in a Dartington Crystal depicting a special brooch and a piece of jewellery to match it. The brooches are designed and made by jeweller Bentley & Skinner, using yellow gold and 70 diamonds. So, if you have a friend in the business and an extra £210,000 lying around, you can buy the entire set.


Royal Salute - The Platinum Jubilee Edition

Image by Tatler Asia



 

2. Macallan 81yo 1940


In early 2022, Macallan announced the launch of their 81-year-old whisky named The Reach. Presently, The Macallan 1940 81-year-old is the oldest whisky bottle that has ever been bottled. The base of the bottle has been designed by a Scottish sculptor named Saskia Robinson. Only 288 bottles of The Reach have been produced, with a base price of £125,000 per bottle.

Macallan 81yo 1940 The Reach

Image by The Macallan

 

3. The Macallan M Collection


The Macallan M Collection

Images by The Macallan/ Edited by The Whisky Ardvark - Left: old presentation


In May 2013, Macallan released the first Macallan M 1824 Series for travel retail in Hong Kong. The bottle was made by crystal maker Lalique. Over the years, the M has become a staple in the Macallan range, with a yearly release of 1750 bottles worldwide. However, in 2018, the 1824 Series was discontinued to make room for new expressions, and the Macallan M moved into a year-dated release.


In 2017, Macallan introduced the first Macallan M Black to accompany the M. Limited to only 725 black crystal bottles a year, and the M Black displays a rare side of Macallan whisky with its smoky character.


The reason the M Series is being mentioned again is that, in early 2022, Macallan announced the launch of the Macallan M Collection featuring three new releases: The Macallan M, The Macallan M Black, and the brand new The Macallan M Copper, which pays tribute to the copper stills located at the distillery. With the launch, the Macallan M's also got new presentation boxes, abandoning the old mirrored pedestal design. However, Macallan has not specified how many bottles of each will be released yearly.


The new series will see more releases in the upcoming years and will function under The Six Pillars foundation stones of The Macallan. It's worth noting that Macallan already has The Six Pillars Collection, which is one of the most expensive collections around, featuring carefully crafted old whiskies and decanters.



 

4. Johnnie Walker Masters' Editions


Johnnie Walker Masters' Editions

Image by The Whisky Ardvark


The Johnnie Walker Masters' Editions is a series of 3 old whisky releases launched between 2018 and 2021.


Johnnie Walker Masters' Edition 50yo 43.3%

Released: October 2018

No. of Bottles: 100

A blend of: Glen Albyn, Glenury Royal, Blair Athol, Caledonian, Cambus, Port Dundas


Johnnie Walker Master's Ruby Reserve 40yo 43%

Released: March 2020

No. of Bottles: 398

A blend of: Cambus, Port Ellen, Pittyvaich, Carsebridge, Talisker, Royal Lochnagar,

Cragganmore, Glendullan


Johnnie Walker Master of Flavour 48yo 41.8%

Released: November 2021

No. of Bottles: 288

A blend of: Port Dundas, Brora, Glen Albyn, Glenury Royal, Cameronbridge, Blair Athol,

Dalwhinnie


The Johnnie Walker luxury whisky sister brand, The John Walker, was discontinued by Diageo in 2019. However, before this announcement, a 3-bottle series was created and blended by Jim Beveridge OBE, the Master Blender of Johnnie Walker. The presentation and bottle shape of both series are identical.


The Masters' blends are made up of some of the oldest stock from the Diageo vaults, including whiskies from closed distilleries like Port Ellen and Brora. There is speculation that some of the whiskies used are too old to be bottled and released as single malts. It is possible that Diageo created the Johnnie Walker Ghost Series and The Masters' blends as a way to use these rare and old whiskies that are no longer suitable to be sold on their own.

However, Diageo has not disclosed the ratios of the whiskies used in these blends. It would be helpful to have more transparency in these types of products.



 

5. The Glenturret Provenance - The Trinity by Lalique


The Glenturret Provenance - The Trinity by Lalique

Images by Glenturret


The French crystal manufacturer Lalique is renowned for their extravagant whisky decanters. In 2019, Lalique acquired the Glenturret distillery by association. The acquisition was completed on March 29, 2019, by Art & Terroir, whose owner, Silvio Denz, is also Lalique's major shareholder.


The new owner of Glenturret relaunched the entire range of Glenturret whisky and introduced the initial limited edition release called 'The Glenturret Provenance' in December 2020. All of the whisky in this limited edition was distilled in 1987 and aged for 33 years. After reaching maturity, the whisky from three barrels was blended to produce only 320 crystal decanters. No doubt, Glenturret is now entering the collectable whisky market that Lalique has been a part of for years.

 

6. Glencairn Ruby Tribute Blended Scotch Whisky


Glencairn Ruby Tribute Blended Scotch Whisky

Image by Sotheby's


If you ever happen to visit the auction house Sotheby's website, you might come across some extremely rare and exclusive whiskies. One such unique offering is a Glencairn crystal decanter that commemorates the glass maker's 40th anniversary and the sale of its millionth Glencairn glass. Only one decanter was produced, and it's adorned with 70 ruby gemstones embedded in Britannia Silver.


The blend itself is a combination of the Master Distillers' craft, and it is made by blending donated whiskies from 12 of the most renowned names in the industry. All the whiskies used in this blend are at least 18 years old.

Master Distiller Contributions

Billy Leighton - Irish Distillers

Colin Scott - Chivas Bros

David Doig - Fettercairn Distillery

David Stewart - William Grant

Ian Grieve - Diageo

Jim Beveridge - Diageo

Jim Cryle - Glenlivet Distillery

John Ramsay - Highland Distillers

Richard Paterson - Whyte & Mackay

Robert Hicks - Allied Distillers Seiichi Koshimizu - Suntory

Shin Natsuyama - Morrison Bowmore


You can jump into the official site listing here.



 

7. Bowmore Onyx 51yo 1970


Bowmore Onyx 51yo 1970

Image by Sotheby's


One of the rare whiskies being auctioned by Sotheby's in The Distillers One-of-One collection is the Bowmore Onyx 51-year-old single malt, distilled in 1970. This whisky was aged in an American Oak Refill Barrel and produced by the oldest distillery on the Isle of Islay. It comes in a striking black glass vessel, inspired by the Islay terroir, and is handblown to hold 1.4 litres of whisky, accompanied by a 10ml miniature bottle.


This particular whisky is the creation of Master Blender Ron Welsh and has an alcohol content of 48% ABV. The vessel was sold for a record-breaking price of £400,000 at the Edinburgh charity auction held in December 2021.


Please visit the original Sotheby's site here.

 

8. Glenlivet Winchester Collection


Glenlivet Winchester Collection 50 year old single malt whiskies

Image by The Whisky Ardvark


The Glenlivet Winchester Collection is an ultra-premium range of 50-year-old whiskies that are part of Glenlivet's Heritage Collection. There have been three limited releases of this collection so far: 1964, 1966, and 1967. The collection is named after the current Master Distiller of Glenlivet, Alan Winchester. The bottles and their presentations perfectly exemplify Scottish craftsmanship, designed by Nichola Burns and Brodie Nairn. The stoppers were designed by silversmith Richard Fox, and the cabinet was designed by an award-winning furniture maker, John Galvin.


The Glenlivet 50yo 1964 1st Edition

Released: 2014

No. of Bottles: 100

ABV: 42.3%

Cask: American Hogshead

Bottled: 17th June 2014


The Glenlivet 50yo 1966 2nd Edition

Released: 2016

No. of Bottles: 100

ABV: 48.5%

Cask: Ex-Sherry

Bottled: 25th May 2016


The Glenlivet 50yo 1967 3rd Edition

Released: March 2019

No. of Bottles: 150

ABV: 48%

Cask: American Oak

Bottled: 6th June 2018



 

10. Bowmore Aston Martin


Bowmore 52 year old Aston Martin single malt whisky decanter

Image by The Whisky Ardvark/ Bowmore


In June 2022, Bowmore created a buzz in the whisky world with the release of their latest bottling, the Bowmore ARC-52. The elegant decanter, which is part of a series of collaborations between Bowmore and car manufacturer Aston Martin, has received acclaim for its artistic design.


The 52-year-old whisky has been matured in a combination of sherry and ex-bourbon casks and has an ABV of 42.3%. Only 100 decanters were produced.

The collaboration aims to provide a luxurious experience for whisky and car enthusiasts alike, with each release in the series drawing inspiration from the Golden Ratio found in nature to create visually pleasing compositions.


However, some have raised concerns about the practicality of the bottle itself, which Bowmore describes as 'the very definition of balance.' Many have questioned how the whisky can be poured from the bottle without spilling. It is hoped that Aston Martin has engineered a high-tech pipette to be provided with the bottle to prevent any wastage. Others have predicted that the bottle was never intended to be opened due to its high collectability value, with a retail price of approximately £60,000 at the time of release.


Black Bowmore DB5 1964 piston

Image by Elite Travel/ Miller Motors/ The Whisky Ardvark


Bowmore and Aston Martin have jointly designed both affordable and expensive whisky bottlings, which are worth mentioning. The first release from their partnership was the Black Bowmore DB5 1964, which was launched in late 2020. This particular whisky is a 31-year-old bottle that has been matured in a Williams & Humbert Oloroso Sherry Butt and bottled at 49.6% ABV. It features an authentic Aston Martin DB5 piston and only 37 bottles were ever produced, with a retail price of £50,000. While one bottle was sold at almost £100,000 in an auction, some retailers offer it at a price of £210,000.




Bowmore single malts Aston Martin travel retail exclusive

Image by The Whisky Ardvark/ Bowmore


In August 2021, Bowmore launched a series called 'Designed by Aston Martin', which is exclusively available for global travel retail. The collection comprises three whiskies: 10-year-old Dark & Intense, which was inspired by an Aston Martin racing car LM 10; 15-year-old Golden & Elegant, influenced by an Aston Martin concept car Atom; and 18-year-old Deep & Complex, which depicts an Aston Martin luxury car DB MK III.


Aston Martin Masters Selection Series called the Bowmore 21yo Golden Ratio

Image by Whisky International


Bowmore recently launched the first expression of their limited Aston Martin Masters Selection Series called the 21yo Golden Ratio. This whisky is a blend of 61.8% 21-year-old whisky and 38.2% of older whiskies up to 35 years. It has been matured in sherry butts and bottled at 51.8% ABV. The next release in the series is expected to be a 22yo cognac cask matured whisky bottled at 51.5% ABV, which is set to launch in 2022.


Please see the easy-read stats of Bowmore Aston Martin whiskies underneath in order of release.

Black Bowmore DB5 1964

Released: 2020

Inspired by: Aston Martin DB5 Piston (The James Bond car)

Age: 31yo

No. of Bottles: 37

ABV: 49.6%

Cask type: Williams & Humbert Oloroso Sherry Butt

Designed by Aston Martin - Travel Retail Exclusives

Masters Selection

Bowmore ARC-52

It appears that the partnership between Bowmore and Aston Martin is going to last for a while!

 


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