Limited to just 80 pieces worldwide, the Eight Decades decanter by James Turrell commemorates the artist’s 80th birthday.
The luxury French glassmaker Lalique and The Glenturret, Scotland’s oldest working distillery, have together presented Eight Decades, a new limited-edition whisky decanter designed by American artist, James Turrell.
One of the foremost artists of the Light and Space movement, Turrell has become famed for his expansive oeuvre that explores how light may inform and shift perceptions of reality. Eight Decades marks the first time the artist has worked on a whisky decanter, though it is his third collaboration with Lalique following the release of two coloured perfume bottles and lighting panel designs in 2022.
The piece was revealed on 16 May in London at the new Lalique Art Gallery in Burlington Arcade. Limited to just 80 pieces worldwide, Eight Decades represents Turrell’s eightieth birthday and functions as a tribute to both Lalique and The Glenturret’s centuries of craftsmanship — since 1888 and 1763, respectively.
James Turrell commented “I love a single malt whisky. I described the whisky my father enjoyed as inspiration for the team at The Glenturret: my father’s description of civilisation was a fine whisky and a good cigar. There is also the idea to relate the decanter to the work in crystal I have previously completed with Silvio and Lalique — I wanted this piece to have the same sensibility as the perfume bottles. A tribute to Egypt, pyramids, and stupas, these architectural forms are cross-cultural. They move something deep within me.”
Following a design similar to that of Turrell’s Lalique perfume bottles, the decanter represents a triptych said to be inspired by the Pyramids of Egypt, in which light served ceremonial purposes.
The decanter takes an elegant form with curved sides, a rectangular base, and a neck injected with violet crystal. The shape proved a technical difficulty for Lalique’s Alsace-based artisans — ensuring that the crystal was evenly distributed to offer a transparency that magnifies the whisky inside.
Silvio Denz, CEO and Chairman, Lalique said “The collaboration with Lalique and James Turrell makes perfect sense when you recall that René Lalique was known as the ‘sculptor of light’. This collaboration brings together James Turrell’s universe, the house of Lalique and The Glenturret in an emotional journey and one of which I am extremely proud. An enduring approach to savoir-faire and taste aligns with James Turrell’s understated, futuristic aesthetic. Eight Decades is the incarnation of excellence at every level — the perfect balance and a beautiful work of art — a celebration of individuals who contribute to the process over generations — a trophy in their honour.”
Crafted in The Glenturret’s Perthshire distillery, the whisky inside the decanter was created by renowned Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno, with insight from Turrell. Following the Eight Decades theme, Dalgarno selected whiskies from eight casks ranging from 1987 to 1998, with each representing a decade of Turrell’s life, career, and character.
The resulting liquid has aromas of dark dried fruit, chocolate orange, ginger cake, red berries, fresh apples, and softer oak; while tastings notes include gentle wood spices, rich fruit cake laced with treacle, and honeycomb balanced with burnished oak.
John Laurie, Managing Director, The Glenturret said, “It is a proud moment for us to be working with James Turrell — a lot of hard work and emotions have gone into designing and creating this decanter. The Eight Decades decanter encapsulates The Glenturret’s very essence: an understated aesthetic, crafted by many talented hands who are all custodians of the skills required to create such a beautiful decanter and liquid. The design of Eight Decades is a departure from more traditional whisky bottles and a homage to the artist as it commemorates his eightieth birthday — we feel it is a piece of art just as much as it is a whisky decanter holding a delicious liquid.”
The Eight Decades decanter is priced at £80,000.