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Artist and designer Ini Archibong and photographer Trey Ratcliff have collaborated with beverage producer Diageo and auction house Sotheby’s on the sale of two of the world’s rarest and most valuable casks of Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Hand-picked from the dwindling original ghost stocks of the Brora and Port Ellen distilleries, each cask comes with the chance to collaborate on a commission with one of the artists through Diageo’s VIP program “Casks of Distinction.”
The Brora 1982 cask, being the oldest which the distillery offers for sale, comes with a mesmerizing Scottish landscape print by New Zealand-based photographer Ratcliff. The cask owner will travel to Scotland with Ratcliff and choose the image among those which best reflect the land that brought this whiskey to life. This image will become a large-format edition print and be used for a set of bespoke labels for the bottles to be drawn from the cask. Ratcliff said, “I’ve dedicated my life to capturing the beauty that exists at the very edge of the world, places where the sky meets the sea, Brora is one such place. I have been longing to travel to Scotland and take in its beautiful landscapes and to do this for the first time, accompanied by someone who appreciates an exceptional whisky like this, will be an epic adventure.”
The Port Ellen 1979 cask will be offered with a one-of-a-kind sculptural artifact the owner will craft in collaboration with Swiss-based Archibong. This artwork will capture the light and life of Port Allen in Murano Glass finished in the colors of Islay. Archibong will also create a bespoke color gradient based upon this piece, which will be used for a set of bespoke labels for the bottles to be drawn from the cask. Archibong said, “Like a precious magic gem precariously holding a finite resource that offers endless memories; this piece is a reminder to its owner of the moment that they captured Islay in a cask, and her spirit reflected on the surface of coloured glass. This artifact is a unique piece. There is only one.”
Furthermore, each successful bidder will have the option to work with Diageo’s experts to age their Scotch for up to five years, playing a final and conclusive role in these whiskies’ fabled stories. Diageo will donate five percent of the hammer price from both sales to support Care International’s work in Ukraine. The auction, offered as part of the Platinum Jubilee Season celebrations, runs in London until June 14.