Beginning in 2022, the series will see the release of three editions, each comprising two expressions: The Rare and The Collectible. The first edition of the Luminary Series, which launches today (27 September), has been created by master distiller Richard Paterson and master whisky maker Greg Glass in partnership with the V&A Dundee's lead architects, Kengo Kuma and Maurizio Mucciola.
The Dalmore says the first edition of the Luminary Series celebrates the makers' "shared sanctity for natural materials [and] deep respect for the creative process".
The Luminary No. 1 Rare edition is a 48-year-old single malt crafted by Paterson that was finished in casks made from Scottish Tay oak and Japanese oak that had been air-dried at the distillery. The whisky is housed in a unique sculpture designed by Kuma, which comprises 48 particles handcrafted from Japanese oak. The sculpture is in-keeping with Kuma's world-renowned ability to marry architecture and nature in his designs.
The first of the two sculptures created to display the Rare edition will be sold at Sotheby’s London, with a portion of the proceeds donated to V&A Dundee, while the second will be held at the distillery’s Highland home. Kuma's original designs for the sculpture, meanwhile, will go on public display at the V&A Dundee from 20 October.
Richard Paterson, OBE, said of the release: “It is a pleasure and a privilege to collaborate with Kengo Kuma once again, and to draw inspiration from his rich experience in bringing this new release to life. The Rare is a wonderful celebration of cultural heritage. I am exceedingly proud of this exceptionally scarce single malt which tells a beautiful story of the coming together of disparate parts into a greater whole.”
Kuma said: “My relationship with The Dalmore, and with Scotland is one born from a love of natural materials and the unfolding of stories over a lifetime. In my work with Richard Paterson and The Dalmore, I see a same respect for the environment, and the same careful attention to the way great design must continue to evolve over time.”
Designed by Paterson and Kuma's protégés, the Collectible echoes its Rare partner in design. Glass has crafted 15-year-old single malt, which was aged in American white oak and finished in a combination of Italian amarone red wine casks and bespoke casks crafted from Scottish Tay oak, Japanese Mizunara oak, and American white oak (in a nod to the heritages of the luminaries). It is held in a contemporary case designed by Mucciola, which uses the same geometric shapes as in his mentor's sculpture for the Rare edition.
Around 15,000 bottles of the Collectible edition will be made available through luxury spirits retailers worldwide from October, including Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in the UK, with a recommended price of £250.
Mucciola said: “Working with and learning from Gregg Glass, sharing our passion for materials and respect for the natural world, shines a light on the importance of craft. This release is inspired by the work we have undertaken with our mentors, and the work we have yet to do – the embodiment of potential realised over a time.”
Glass added: “The Dalmore is constantly innovating, working to unlock the hidden potential in every component of its whisky-making process in order to achieve excellence. The opportunity to create something entirely new has resulted in a masterful liquid that balances tradition with innovation. It beautifully expresses the personal and professional journeys of Maurizio Mucciola and myself, and shows what is so special about true craftsmanship.”
The Dalmore, owned by Whyte & MacKay, is seeing increasing popularity among whisky consumers, collectors and investors. A recent IWSR report named it as the fastest-growing single malt whisky worldwide, having doubled in both sales volume and value between 2011 and 2017. In a Rare Whisky 101 report in 2021, it was named among the top three whisky investments and it is the only live distillery to be experiencing growth on the auction scene. Its 2021 Dalmore Decades collection, auctioned through Sotheby's, fetched a record-breaking price of £1.1 million - around twice its pre-sale estimate.
The distillery announced a four-year partnership with the V&A Dundee – the V&A's first outpost outside London – in 2020.