Collecting Spirits for the Bottle Rather Than What’s Inside

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Collecting souls is not a new quest. But these days more enthusiasts are buying collectibles for the spirits, as opposed to the liquid delights kept within.

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There are collectible decanters and unique bottle designs, limited-edition labels and artwork, and partnerships with fine purveyors of all manner of crafts. From lovers of kitsch and those who enjoy playing hard to find sets, especially to loyal fans of beloved brands, more people than ever are collecting beautiful bottles and collaborations.

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an old trend is new again

Old Overholt, a classic rye whiskey brand, teamed up with Steinbach, a German manufacturer of fine woodcraft, to produce a unique, highly limited run of Nutcrackers. In the likeness of Abraham Overholt, who founded the brand two centuries ago, Nutcracker stands behind a whiskey barrel and a sack of rye grain, holding a bottle of whiskey. The collaboration was tied to the holiday season this year as a means to purchase a whiskey-centric gift for a loved one who isn’t just a bottle to drink.

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Bradford Lawrence of Old Overholt’s parent company Beam Suntory says, “A collectible piece of craftsmanship like this gives whiskey drinkers an entirely new way to celebrate and display their love for the brand beyond a single rare bottle. Is.” “To the best of my knowledge, no other whiskey founder has been immortalized as such a Nutcracker, and so we are thrilled to be able to offer a fun, new item for enthusiasts about I’m excited, and show off to friends and fellow collectors alike.”

Old Overholt, a classic rye whiskey brand, teamed up with Steinbach, a German manufacturer of fine woodcraft, to produce a unique, highly limited run of Nutcrackers.

old overholt

While an affordable brand may seem like an odd match for a premium collectible, it is actually a tradition within the world of American whiskey. Bourbon’s ceramic decanters were all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s, with Wild Turkey and Jim Beam exclusively releasing a litany of them. As journalist Aaron Goldfarb explained, the basic idea behind them was to create an opportunity to increase sales in the face of the declining popularity of whiskey in an era that saw the meteoric rise of vodka.

The tide has turned in recent years, and there are some whiskey brands that have the opposite problem, a dwindling supply that can’t keep pace with fervent global demand.

The same is the case with Hibiki, the much-anticipated blended Japanese whiskey produced by Suntory Whiskey. That supply issue has led to many of its age-detailing labels being removed from the market, one way it remains at the forefront of collectors, through the release of limited-edition bottles. Hibiki Japanese Harmony’s 2021 limited edition features a flowing floral design, with 24 different flowers depicting the 24 micro-seasons of the Japanese lunar calendar, atop the face of the brand’s signature 24-facet bottle.

Meanwhile, Glenmorangie released a limited edition of their 18-year-old single malt, featuring a design by flower artist and botanical sculptor Azuma Makoto. He was inspired by the floral flavor of Glenmorangie and interpreted that flavor in a piece of art with 100 blooms, including the distinctive aroma from whiskey. The sculpture, titled Dancing Flowers of Glenmorangie, was featured on the label and gift box of the Special Edition Glenmorangie 18 Azuma Makoto bottle.

It seems like every major brand wants to get in on the fun. Angostura teamed up with specialty leather goods purveyor Clayton & Crum for an exclusive cocktail kit in the form of a stylish leather Dopp bag, which included a range of useful accessories. Standout cocktail bar Death & Company teamed up with Jameson to create the Cocktail Courier Holiday Kit, which includes Death and Company: Welcome Home Cocktail book, 12 year old bottles of Jameson Black Barrel and The Glenlivet, and ingredients for many signature drinks.

Hibiki Japanese Harmony’s 2021 limited edition features a flowing floral design, with 24 different flowers depicting the 24 micro-seasons of the Japanese lunar calendar, atop the face of the brand’s signature 24-facet bottle.

hibikic

craft becomes collectible

While large, global brands have a fan base that garners special-edition offerings, even smaller and Craftsman brands are getting into the collectibles sector. Drumshanbow Gunpowder Irish Gin released a limited edition ceramic bottle with a style that reflects the oriental botanicals used in the spirit, such as gunpowder tea.

“With this bottle, our founder PJ Rigne wanted to pay homage to the traditional porcelain that had been used in tea ceremonies for hundreds of years—it was in a ceremony that PJ first came across gunpowder tea that eventually led to Did Drumshanbow as the recipe for Gunpowder Irish Gin,” says Connor O’Brien of Shedd Distillery. “If you look closely at the bottle you can see some iconic views of Drumshambo Village as well as The Shed Distillery.”

With regulations on selling and shipping alcohol directly to consumers in many parts of the US, partly due to the pandemic, Westward Whiskey launched a national members club, the first of its kind. Westward Whiskey Club launched in 2019, but has expanded to 30 states this year thanks to that changing legal landscape. Members, who can choose to receive one or three bottles per quarter, receive exclusive club-only whiskeys with a unique cask finish, and bottles adorned with attractive metal plaques.

Thomas Mooney, founder of Westward, says, “For some time now, we have received requests from Westward enthusiasts to engage with our brand and team on a deeper, more personal level, so we are providing them an opportunity to join our community.” Excited to provide the platform.” and CEO.

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