T he Dalmore Luminary No.1 The Rare Is a truly unique piece of collectible whisky. Conceived as part of a partnership between The Dalmore and V&A Dundee, this whisky comprises a 48 Year Old Single Malt whisky housed in a striking sculpture designed by Kengo Kuma, the museum’s globally acclaimed architect.
Made of 48 hand-crafted diamond-shaped particles of Scottish Oak, Japanese Oak and polished metal to represent the number of years the whisky was nurtured by Master Distiller Richard Paterson OBE. The concept originated from a quest to discover a point of convergence between the complex skills of design and whisky-making.
Part 1 - The Inspiration
Only three bottles of this exquisite whisky exist and only two sculptures have been created. One of these complete editions will be held at the distillery's Highland home, whilst the second is destined for auction at Sotheby's in London on 16 November, with an estimate of £95,000-180,000 and bidding online from 1 November. A portion of the proceeds will to be donated to V&A Dundee. The third bottle will be released as part of a compendium release of the series in the years to come.
The sale will mark another milestone in the ongoing creative collaboration between Kuma San and Paterson, which began in 2020 alongside the announcement of a four-year partnership with the museum to showcase and nurture exceptional design and craftsmanship. In 2021, The Dalmore donated £100,000 to V&A Dundee from Sotheby's record sale of the one-of-one, exceedingly rare Decades No.6 Collection at Sotheby's in Hong Kong.
Working with The Dalmore always brings new surprises as their creativity seemingly knows no bounds. 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.
Part 2 - The Philosophy
The original designer’s proof of the sculpture and replica bottle will be unveiled at a special event at V&A Dundee on Thursday 20 October, attended by the “Luminaries” Kuma and Paterson, who co-conceived “The Rare”, ahead of the piece going on public display from 22 October.
Kengo Kuma, the only architect named in the prestigious TIME 100 in 2021, and Richard Paterson, awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year's Honours List for his services to whisky, together bring more than six decades of experience to the Rare, the embodiment of the pursuit of excellence over a lifetime.
Part 3 - The Artistry
Kuma's sculpture highlights the architect's signature gentle interrogation and intimate understanding of natural materials and negative space, making use of metal and wood to frame the decanter at its centre. The oak diamonds mingle with light reflected from the shiny metal particles to achieve a sense of balance and harmony, in a nod to the art of the Master Distillers who create perfectly harmonious whisky flavours. The Scottish oak wood chosen for the project was sourced from a tree that had fallen on the banks of the River Tay where V&A Dundee sits.