A Marriage of Scottish Fine Whisky and Craftsmanship: Ben Nevis 45 Year Old Independent Bottling


A Marriage of Scottish Fine Whisky and Craftsmanship: Ben Nevis 45 Year Old Independent Bottling

In a historic first, Cask 88 this week presents whisky at Fine Art Asia 2017, with two new independent bottlings, bringing together the work of Scottish master distillers with that of Scottish and international fine artists. Alongside these two projects (the other being a Glenfiddich 53 Year Old) we also presented a carefully curated collection of rare and old whisky casks and bottles. In a series of articles we will investigate each of these releases, starting with:

A Ben Nevis 45 year old 1972 (ABV 42%) is the product of a unique artistic collaboration between Edinburgh College of Art graduate Paul Charlton, Inverness-based small business Darach Gifts and Spanish master glassmakers, the Gordiola family. The whisky is presented in a hand-blown bottle, housed in a bespoke copper-fronted wooden box, made from vintage oak whisky barrels. Only 228 bottles of the Ben Nevis bottling will be available; consumers can choose from one of four designs, with each product made to order.


To purchase this rare and exclusive Ben Nevis whisky, contact us today

We at Cask 88, as the home for rare and old whisky, consider it our responsibility to nurture bold craftsmanship in the industry, and this extends beyond whisky production to the presentation of our bottlings,” said Patrick Costello. “These independent bottlings are a fine example of what can be achieved by anyone who comes to us seeking to bottle their own cask of whisky.”

In an interview with the artist Paul Charlton we asked how these pieces were inspired by Scotland and the fine whisky it creates, he responded:

I decided to use copper for the pieces, as it references the copper used in whisky stills and complements the wooden boxes made out of old whisky casks. I dressed Dexter, the model, in a kilt and Glengarry hat to give a representation of Scotland.

Cask88_Ben Nevis_45_Paul_Charlton

To purchase this rare and exclusive Ben Nevis whisky, contact us today

We also wanted in his words what made each individual piece so unique, and kindly shared:

Each piece is hand made. I start by taking a collection of photographs, which I then use to create a number of drawings from. The chosen drawing is etched onto a piece of copper using traditional printmaking techniques. This involves submersing the copper into a chemical bath for a few hours to etch the drawing permanently into the surface of the metal. Then I shape the metal using repoussé chisels and hammers, a technique used in jewellery making. This gives it a more three dimensional quality, creating a raised surface that catches the light from different angles. Once the plate is shaped I paint it, using colours inspired from the Scottish landscape, foliage and heathers, resulting in variations from plate to plate.

The Whisky – Ben Nevis 45 Year old

A sweet and nutty nose, accompanied by notes of dark fruit and cherry, is a complex and welcome introduction to this venerable Ben Nevis whisky, which boasts four and a half decades of maturation. The sherry cask finish is evident on the palate, where we’re met with citrus fruits and dark chocolate, followed by a distinctive mix of tobacco leaves, dried herbs and milk chocolate with a touch of oak. The finish is long with a bitter dryness, offering dark chocolate, sweet tobacco and cherries with cinnamon, reminding us of its significant time spent in oak.

If you are interested in knowing more about each of the craftsmen involved in this wonderful project, we have put together the following:

The Artist – Paul Charlton

A graduate of sculpture from the Edinburgh College of Art, Paul Charlton is a master across various artforms, who combines his skills elegantly to ensure his art extends beyond the canvas to engage with the environment in which it sits. Following graduation, he taught Art and Craft classes and workshops, worked in theatre designing and building sets, before going on to study furniture making & restoration. Paul is currently working with photography and printmaking, blending these with sculpture, theatre and furniture making skills to create unique works of art.


The Box Maker – Darach

Darach is a small family run company, based in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands.  The craftsmen at Darach take pride in creating quality furniture and gifts from vintage oak whisky barrels.  Each one of their products is individually handcrafted, ensuring that every Darach product is unique. At Darach they recognise and respect the long history and tradition of Scottish whisky casks and their intriguing story.


The Bottle & Glasses – Gordiola

The art of blowing glass is one of the most precious values of our multisecular artistic tradition, cultivated since 1719 in the glass ovens of the Gordiola family. Over almost three centuries, through successive generations, the artisans and master glassmakers have been modelling, with the ingenuity of their inspiration, the air of their lungs and the agility of their hands, the pieces whose forms, transparencies and reflections still today seduce us. No piece is identical to the other. Any bubble irregularities or asymmetry are characteristic of hand blown glass and give these works their particular charm.


These independent bottlings will be the first to be exhibited alongside ancient and contemporary art from across the globe, and therefore the first pieces of antique whisky to be recognised as fine art. Cask 88 Director Patrick Costello said, “The craftsmanship involved in these projects, from the dedication and skill of the master distillers at Glenfiddich and Ben Nevis, to the undeniable expertise of Paul Charlton, Hamilton & Inches, Gordiola and Darach, has truly elevated vintage whisky into the realm of fine art.

If you would like to view our related post on our Glenfiddich 53 Year old that also attended Fine Art Asia 2017, click here.

To purchase this rare and exclusive Ben Nevis whisky, contact us today.

Alternatively, check out our Ben Nevis bottles that are currently available in our store or find out more about how Cask 88 can help you create your very own masterpiece, get a quote for your very own cask. 

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