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The most iconic whisky bottles of all time

rarewhisky | whiskycollection

January 14, 2024

As you may already know, we like to think about whisky as more than just a drink around here. Indeed, whisky it’s a genuine art form with its own traditions. And like any legit art, it’s got its showstoppers. Now, what makes a whisky a masterpiece? Well, for us, it’s when the entire experience goes above and beyond. From the explosion of flavours to the beautiful packaging and bottle, it’s a real party for your senses. And no, it doesn’t mean the fancier the bottle, the better the experience. You can bedazzle a bottle with diamonds, but a whisky enthusiast’s true BFF  will always be the whisky itself (yes, this is a free interpretation from the famous song…). Still, we believe that everything around the whisky should tell its story in the best way possible. And that’s how you get some iconic whisky bottles!

In this article, we’re taking a deep dive into iconic scotch whisky bottles. Now, you might be asking, “Iconic according to who?” Well, drumroll please… according to us! You know… art is open to interpretation!

So, here are the single malt scotch whisky bottles of our wildest dreams. Who knows, some of these are on your wishlist too. 

Laphroaig 1969

Let’s kick things off with a whisky from an independent bottler, shall we?

This 19-year-old single malt was distilled at Laphroaig in 1969 and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail with the now legendary ‘Ships Label’ in the late 1980s. It was an exclusive limited edition for the Italian market by importers at Sestante in Parma. This beauty has turned into quite the collector’s item. A true gem for any aficionado of Laphroaig distilled in the swinging 1960s.

The aromas are a delicate dance, gracefully intertwining with the maritime smoke notes. As you sip, citrus fruits and meadow flowers steal the spotlight, paving the way for chamomile and herbal sweets. This creamy and buttery delight wraps up with a lingering finale, leaving a few traces of those herbal notes that stick around till the very end.

Black Bowmore 1964

According to many whisky enthusiasts (a.k.a. people leaving their reviews on the internet), the 60s were a time to remember for Bowmore’s whisky. If you are one of these nostalgic folk, you might want to put your hand on a bottle of Black Bowmore 1964. These limited 827 bottles originate from a single cask filled on November 5, 1964, and each one is accompanied by a wooden presentation case. The spirit was left to mature into an Oloroso sherry cask and then laid down in the – alleged – distillery vaults below sea level.

Almost ebony, with incredible aromas of exotic fruits, ginger and cinnamon. A fascinating 42-year-old whisky that will swirl your palate with black cherry, ripe peach and dark chocolate-covered espresso bean.

Feeling fancier? You might also like the Bowmore Ason Martic ARC – 52!

Bowmore Aston Martin ARC-52 

Buckle up for a wild ride through the union of two legends – Aston Martin and Bowmore. It’s like a love story between innovation and craftsmanship. And you’re invited to the wedding!

This 52-year-old vintage whisky presents itself in a unique decanter specially designed by Aston Martin. It’s not just a bottle; it’s a work of art, a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that won’t make a comeback. Just like the whisky it cradles: a dazzling blend of some of the oldest Bowmore vintages from the iconic ’60s, courtesy of the maestro himself, Ron Welsh, the Master Blender.

Now, let’s talk about the Bowmore ARC-52 decanter. The genius idea was to take you on a time-travelling adventure from the past to the present – an arc of time – with a futuristic twist on a whisky vessel. Think Aston Martin design principles, creating proportions that scream stable yet refined and light 

And now, the tasting notes – the juicy part!

As soon as you open this bottle, a fresh and fruity vibe will immediately invest you, with a cheeky nod to the rich sweetness of Creme Brulé. Imagine apricots, green apples, orange zest, and guava having a party! 

On the palate, get ready for a honey-sweet, fruity, and citric explosion. Green apple, apricot, and tangerine flavours dance seamlessly with nutty notes of macadamia and walnuts. Add a dash of oaky goodness and a hint of peat for a warm party in your mouth.

In the end, this whisky will leave you with a long, mouth-drying finish and a touch of marine minerality.

Ardbeg 1974 Gordon & MacPhail Imported by Sestante

This Ardbeg imported by Sestante for the Italian Market has become legendary among whisky enthusiasts. People consider this whisky to be the “last vintage” of old true peaty Ardbeg. Oh, the old good days (again)! 

Moreover, this whisky was distilled in 1974 and bottled in 1996. This means it was also one of the last whiskies made out of barley malted directly inside the distillery. A true iconic whisky bottle indeed!

To wrap things up, this Ardbeg is a very medicinal Ardbeg, with a complex peat smoke flavour.  Maritime and with some iodine on the nose, and fruity on the palate This is a perfect example of a complex and elegant vintage whisky. 

Highland Park 50 Years Old

Imagine capturing the untamed spirit of the sea and turning it into a true masterpiece. Well, you don’t have to ponder it too long because the Highland Park folks have already done that.

Highland Park 50 Years Old is a limited edition. With only 275 bottles in existence, it’s a visual stunner. The bottle was designed by the talented jeweller Maeve Gillies. The bottle itself is wrapped in handcrafted sterling silver that vividly portrays the tumultuous waters surrounding Orkney. It also comes with a leather-bound booklet.

Now, let’s dive into the whisky. Distilled in 1960 and bottled in 2010, this liquid gold boasts a deep mahogany hue. It was made by marrying together five casks of whisky that were distilled and then cask-harmonized, to ensure that the whisky achieved the perfect balance of flavour and consistency.

The nose is a rich blend of raisins, tobacco, nutmeg, and the aroma of wet leather straps—a down-to-earth symphony that hints at a hidden sweetness of brown sugar and molasses. As soon as you take your first sip, bitter roots and liquorice take centre stage. Fruits are present but remain hidden just behind the curtain of the wood notes.

As the journey continues, the finish is both long and robust, with maritime notes that evoke the salty air over the ocean. A perfect finale that compliments the wild tannins experienced before on the palate. 

Glenfiddich 1964 Ian Macleod 

Are you a Sherry Cask whisky enthusiast? Get ready for a Sherry bomb experience! Only 200 bottles of this gem exist. Distilled in 1964, this whisky took a 37-year nap in a sherry hogshead before being bottled by Ian Macleod & Co.

The nose packs a punch, delivering robust rum notes, raisins, and even some meaty aromas. There’s a subtle background of rubber and leathery undertones. On the palate, it is a rich and round delight, featuring plum liqueur, a touch of prune mingling with black currant, and a medley of spices and menthol. As time goes on, it unfolds more layers, revealing hints of espresso coffee, dark chocolate, toasted hazelnuts, and cocoa. 

The grand finale? A long and dry finish with the lingering taste of bitter almonds and dark espresso coffee. Spices like black pepper, nutmeg, and cloves make a memorable exit. 

Tales of the Macallan Volume I

Are you a bookworm? If so, this particular volume holds a special surprise.

This is the first edition in a remarkable series of single malt whiskies that pay tribute to The Macallan Pioneers and their stories. 

Contained within a Lalique crystal decanter, this rare whisky was distilled in 1950 and bottled in 2021. It’s housed within an extraordinary 800-page book recounting the story of Captain John Grant, featuring beautiful illustrations by the renowned artist Andrew Davidson.

The handcrafted crystal decanter that encases this distinguished and rare expression was created by master French crystal maker Lalique. This distinctive and rare single malt was carefully crafted by The Macallan Lead Whisky Maker, Sarah Burgess. Distilled in 1950 and bottled in 2021, it was selected for its exceptional flavour and character. 

This exceptional rare whisky has a beautiful flavour profile. The presence of wood spices, sweet wood smoke, and antique oak beautifully complements the delicate symphony of ripe fruits and spices. In the end, you will immediately feel the citrus and sweet oak still lingering on your palate. 

In conclusion

As we just saw, the world of whisky is not just a realm of spirits. It’s an artistic expression that transcends the boundaries of flavours. Each bottle is a narrative, a visual masterpiece, and a sensorial journey that captivates enthusiasts worldwide.

It’s not just about what’s inside a bottle; it is about the craftsmanship, the innovation, and the stories they tell. So, the next time you open a bottle of whisky, remember: you’re not just sipping whisky. You’re experiencing a piece of art and history in every drop. Whichever year that bottle is from. 

Which whisky bottle is the stuff of your wildest dreams? Share this article on your social media and let us know which whisky holds the title of the most iconic whisky bottle in your eyes!

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