High-end whisky embraces new opportunities in China
Published: Nov 29, 2022 11:49 PM Updated: Nov 29, 2022 11:35 PM
The Rare holds an immensely scarce and valuable whisky that is hand nurtured by Master Distiller Richard Paterson OBE. Photo: The Dalmore

The Rare holds an immensely scarce and valuable whisky that is hand nurtured by Master Distiller Richard Paterson OBE. Photo: The Dalmore

Located adjacent to Shanghai Airport, Portmix Shanghai looks like a tranquil village engulfed in the urban centre, with natural elements - such as stone, brick, tile, and water - creatively adding layers to the architectural space. Here, The Dalmore Luminary No.1, 2022 Edition recently celebrated its launch in China, creating an unforgettable first impression of the brand. The Luminary Series is a unique three-part series of rare and limited edition single malts created by exceptional luminaries from the worlds of whisky and architectural design, curated in partnership with V&A Dundee, Scotland's design museum. The world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma, who designed Portmix Shanghai, also collaborated with The Dalmore for the first time on the new whisky series, injecting unprecedented creativity into the whisky world while also establishing a poetic connection between the launch site and the brand.

When Luminaries Meet

Kengo Kuma, the internationally acclaimed architect and lead designer of V&A Dundee, and his Protégé Maurizio Mucciola, collaborated with Master Distiller Richard Paterson OBE and master whisky maker Greg Glass to conceive two whiskies from The Dalmore Luminary Series - The Rare and The Collectible. The Rare is housed in a unique sculpture designed by Kengo Kama, comprising 48 particles and handcrafted in Japanese Oak, Scottish Oak and glinting steel. It holds an immensely scarce and valuable whisky that has been hand nurtured by Paterson for 48 years and is finished in casks of Scottish Tay Oak and Japanese Oak air dried at the distillery for years. This artistic co-creation of the two masters demonstrate a splendid crossover between the world of whisky and design. The Collectible echoes its Rare partner in design, as Maurizio Mucciola skillfully pays homage to his mentor's design vocabulary, using the same animated geometric particles scattered across the case.

"In the whisky world, there is a lot of talk about crossover. But I believe that the collaboration between these two exceptional talents from the worlds of whisky and architectural design is an absolute rarity. Both masters bring over six decades of invaluable experience and genuine passion to this extraordinary creation," said Kenny Wang, Greater China Director of Whyte and Mackay, the parent company of The Dalmore and a lot more high-end whisky brands. "During the past four decades, Richard Paterson has maintained a strong relationship with the Japanese whisky industry, which laid the foundation for the creation of the Luminary Series. Richard Paterson and Kengo Kuma met each other through Dalmore's partnership with V&A Dundee, hitting it off right away, and the idea of co-conceiving an exceptional whisky was born."

In 2022, The Dalmore Luminary Series launched with two phenomenal creations, boasting not only artistic packaging design but also experimental maturation techniques. The Collectible began its journey in American white oak and finished in hand-selected Italian Amarone Red Wine casks and bespoke 'Kintsugi' Casks, which were made from Scottish Tay Oak, sourced from an upcycled tree found on the banks of the River Tay, Japanese Mizunara Oak and American White Oak. Crafted specifically for this limited Collectible whisky, the unconventional 'Kintsugi' Casks bring perfectly harmonious and unforgettable whisky flavors.

The Dalmore Luminary Series Launch Venue Designed by Kengo Kuma Photo: The Dalmore

The Dalmore Luminary Series Launch Venue Designed by Kengo Kuma Photo: The Dalmore

Cultivating the Strong Growth of the Chinese Market

On the evening of November 16, news came from across the world that the Luminary No.1 - Rare - 2022 Edition was sold at Sotheby's London for £118,850, with £50,000 of the proceeds donated to V&A Dundee. In fact, each luxury collection launched by The Dalmore receives worldwide attention and enthusiastic responses from the industry. Today, with the restless pursuit of making the perfect single malt whisky, The Dalmore has become a pioneer in the domestic high-end whisky market and is recognized and highly sought-after by whisky consumers and collectors alike. Rome was not built in a day, in Kenny Wang's view, it is the spirit of pursuit of excellence and putting in the enormous effort that make The Dalmore a masterpiece.

Over the past decade, The Dalmore has held over 150 tasting events across China to get in touch with consumers and share the experience in making and tasting the high-end whisky. " The Dalmore does not plan to blindly focus on sales. We aim to cultivate the appreciation for single malt whisky by teaching consumers how to taste high-end whiskies. We are hoping that our consumrs can genuinely enjoy the exquisite flavor of The Dalmore whisky," said Kenny Wang, who has persistently hosted almost every one of these tastings for decades, due to his endless love for the whisky world and his sense of mission given by the rarity of each Dalmore whisky.

Throughout the past few years, The Dalmore has actively participated in professional spirit and whisky exhibitions all over China. With the vigorous development of single malt whisky in the Chinese market, The Dalmore has decided to seize the opportunity to expand aggressively within the country. In July 2022, The Dalmore made its mark at China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE). "This is The Dalmore's first time participating in a major national exhibition in China. It shows how much The Dalmore values the Chinese market. Feedback from those within the industry has been very positive about The Dalmore's debut at CICPE," said Kenny Wang. Additionally, The Dalmore looks forward to exploring future collaboration with China International Import Expo (CIIE) and bringing innovation to the ever-improving CIIE.