When you make the world’s oldest single malt Scotch, you need the proper vessel to carry the precious liquid gold. For this task, whisky creators Gordon & MacPhail secured the talents of world-renowned architect and designer Sir David Adjaye OBE.

The end result is a unique jewel-like decanter and oak pavilion, which will be filled with the oldest single malt Scotch ever bottled – Generations 80-Years-Old from Glenlivet Distillery. A celebration of the artistry, craft, and care, which it shares with the single malt it encases, the decanter’s unique form represents Gordon & MacPhail’s history of repeatedly pushing the boundaries in terms of long-term whisky maturation since 1895.

Gordon & MacPhail
Sir David Adjaye OBE

‘Artistry in Oak’, the creative theme for the ground-breaking release bears tribute to both the precious and rare liquid. It has been carefully nurtured in an oak cask by four generations of the family that owns Gordon & MacPhail, as well as its stunning presentation. Never before has oak and single malt spirit been combined for eight decades. The historic liquid has even been described by renowned whisky writer Charlie MacLean as “truly, one of the finest I’ve ever encountered.”

Liquid Gold

The jewel-like decanter contains lenses to provide focus on the richly coloured liquid. A generous volume of crystal balances both heft and delicacy, and provides a beguiling, tactile presence. Designed to appear as hewn from a single solid block of crystal, the decanter’s curving core needed to be individually hand-blown by experienced artisans overseen by Glencairn Crystal Studio, experts in ultra-premium decanters and another family business based in Scotland.

Gordon & MacPhail Generations 80-Years-Old
Generations 80-Years-Old

While similar, no two decanters are exactly the same, reflecting the complexity of the process and its organic nature. The oak pavilion is constructed from sustainably sourced oaks grown less than five miles from makers, Wardour Workshops, another family-owned company, based in Dorset, Southwest England.

Only 250 70cl decanters have been created. Decanter #1 is being auctioned by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong on 7 October 2021 with a framed cask end from the original cask and a lithograph of the original concept drawings signed by David Adjaye. Auction proceeds are being donated to local Scottish charity Trees for Life whose mission is to rewild the Caledonian forest.

According to Gordon & MacPhail, the donation will help the Trees for Life nursery which grows 100,000 rare and native trees, including oaks, from seed each year. Public showcases of the decanter and oak pavilion will be exhibited from early September 2021 in Sotheby’s London, New York, and Hong Kong galleries in addition to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of Sotheby’s 2021 Hong Kong Autumn Sales Series preview exhibition.

(Image: Gordon & MacPhail)

written by.
Richard Augustin
Former chef turned writer; Richard has tip-toed around the publishing industry for two decades. When not busy chasing deadlines, you can still find him experimenting with recipes in the kitchen.

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