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Only 3 Bottles of This 48-Year-Old Dalmore Single Malt Exist, and One Could Fetch Up to $200,000 at Auction

This is the definition of "special occasion" whisky.

The Dalmore The Luminary No. 1 The Dalmore

We are awash in a world of ultra-aged, uber-expensive single malt scotch whisky, so why not add one more to the ever growing list? But this new release from The Dalmore has something extra—the bottle comes housed within a unique sculpture, and there are only three available.

The Dalmore Luminary No. 1 is the first of three in this new series, a partnership between the distillery and Scotland design museum V&A Dundee located on the River Tay north of Edinburgh. The 2022 release is a 48-year-old single malt called The Rare that was initially matured in ex-bourbon casks, Matusalem and Apostle sherry butts and port pipes. Then it was finished in both Scottish and Japanese mizunara oak casks to impart more flavor to this already well-aged whisky.

There are just three bottles available—the first will be sold at auction within its sculpture at Sotheby’s London (a portion of the proceeds will benefit V&A Dundee), the second will find a home at The Dalmore’s Highland House and the third will be available as part of a compendium of whisky from The Dalmore at a later point (minus the sculpture). There is also a designer’s proof that will be on display at V&A Dundee. The sculpture in question was conceived of by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and his protege Maurizio Mucciola, with Dalmore master distiller Richard Paterson OBE and master whisky maker Gregg Glass providing input as well. The sculpture is made from 48 diamonds of Scottish and Japanese oak to reflect the secondary maturation of the whisky, along with polished metal. The Scottish oak was reclaimed from a fallen tree on the banks of the River Tay.

“Working with The Dalmore always brings new surprises as their creativity seemingly knows no bounds,” said Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s head of whisky & spirits, North America and EMEA, in a statement. “The Luminary is not simply an extremely rare bottle, but one of exceptional quality with an exquisite design lovingly put together by Richard and Kuma. This is Sotheby’s third partnership with The Dalmore in recent years and there is no better way to close out our 2022 auctions in London than with this marriage of whisky and design.”

The Rare will obviously wind up in just one deep-pocketed person’s collection, so The Dalmore is also releasing 15,000 bottles of a whisky called The Collectible to go along with this release. This is a 15-year-old single malt matured in American white oak and finished in Italian Amarone red wine casks and “Kintsugi” casks. The latter is a Japanese term for repaired pottery, referring to the fact that these barrels are an assemblage of Scottish Tay oak, mizunara and American white oak.

Bidding on The Rare and its accompanying sculpture will open at Sotheby’s London on November 1, with the sale price expected to start at a minimum of about $100,000 and possibly topping out at close to $200,000. The Collectible, on the other hand, has an SRP of £250 (about $280), making this one the better option if you’re starting to think of holiday gift ideas.

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