The Only Drop

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society bucks the trend with its inaugural contribution to the Distillers One of One auction at Sotheby’s with a minimalist, environmentally friendly sculpture that puts the whisky at the heart of the offering and proves luxury can be both simple and sustainable.

The Only Drop by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a decadent, elegant dram that has spent 33 years in sherry casks and is encased by a bespoke paper pulp sculpture that’s infused with wood shavings from the original casks, reuniting the liquid once again with the vessel it matured in.  

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, part of the Artisanal Spirits Company, curated a team of maverick artists, thinkers and craftspeople with outstanding luxury, artisanal and sustainability credentials to deliver fresh thinking for this prestige project. The creative concept was led by STCKMN in consultation with sustainable British paper innovators, James Cropper, and was handcrafted for the auction by Matter Agency. With both the 33 Year Old sherry matured single malt scotch whisky along with and the minimalist, environmentally conscious design, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s The Only Drop balances tradition with modernity.  

The whisky arguably started in a very classic direction. On 25th September 1989, a spirit from a revered Speyside distillery (Scotch Malt Whisky Society distillery no 24) that was renowned for its use of sherry casks began maturing in an Oloroso sherry butt. Thirty years later, on 7th May 2019, at the bequest of the spirits experts at The Scotch Malt Whisky Society its contents were unconventionally divided equally between a first fill Oloroso hogshead and a first fill Pedro Ximénez hogshead. Three years later they were reunited to create one unique bottle, never to be repeated.

This bottling is a sculptural celebration of the relationship between whisky and cask. The one-of-a-kind handcrafted release serves as a visual narrative of the 33-year partnership that gave birth to this unique whisky. The liquid is represented by a ripple formation on the sculpture that’s inspired by the unrepeatable pattern of water in nature, with a droplet portal allowing a glimpse of the precious whisky within. 

Euan Campbell, Head of whisky creation at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society: “With such a unique one of one we decided to delve into the warehouse of some of the most rare casks that we have. The casks that I decided on in the end have an interesting backstory – a tale to tell – and when the samples arrived in the lab we had fun trying to put them together and figure out the right combination and arrive at the best flavour profile possible.

“The whisky originally started its life in 1989 and was left to mature in a single oloroso butt, but in 2019 I decided to split the contents of that sherry butt into two sherry hogsheads – one oloroso hogshead and one Pedro Ximénezhogshead. This bottling is the reuniting of these two liquids to create something one off and very special. We have very nutty dry flavours from the oloroso and sweeter dark treacly notes from the Pedro Ximénez, and they complement each other really well. There’s a real elegance to this that only comes with age. Overall, it’s a very decadent, elegant, old dram.”

This entirely one-off bottle and one-of-a-kind whisky was created exclusively for The Distillers One of One auction, which brings together an unparalleled collection of never-to be-repeated Scotch whiskies from distilleries across the length and breadth of Scotland. The proceeds from the purchase of this whisky will principally go to The Youth Action Fund which helps transform the lives of the most disadvantaged young people by helping them develop their confidence, resilience, and skills so they are ready for life and work.

This one-of-a-kind set consists of a truly exclusive, authoritatively selected rare liquid bottled in iconic Society glassware with unique One of One artwork and is encased by a meticulously designed and lovingly handcrafted ‘The Only Drop’ sculpture. Accompanying the traditional 700ml bottle will be a 100ml miniature to allow the buyer to sample the whisky. It shares the same design features as the main bottle, such as the hand-dipped wax neck and foil embellishments. It also includes a hand-bound stitched and copper-foiled paper book documenting the concept, the journey and tasting notes of this exclusive release.

Rebecca Hamilton, Chief Marketing & Experience Officer for The Scotch Malt Whisky Society: “The Distillers One of One auction gives whisky creators the opportunity to support and come together as an industry to celebrate our craft. We donate a one of a kind whisky that will never be available after the auction closes. It was important to us that we did things a little differently, so instead of an elaborate, expensive bottle, we created a stripped back, sustainable design which puts the whisky at the heart and lets it shine as the hero. This is a very special whisky flavour curation – and a complete one off.

“That said, it would not feel very Society if the liquid inside this incredible bottle never got tasted. For that reason, we provided a 100ml bottle alongside the 700ml bottle of The Only Drop so hopefully, with our best wishes, whoever is lucky enough to win it at auction will be able to taste a piece of liquid history and cherish the unique one of one bottle too.”

Designed by STCKMN, the creative studio of multi-disciplinary designer Chris Wilson, and handcrafted by Matter Agency using both contemporary and traditional techniques, ‘The Only Drop’ packaging is a sculptural piece of art, celebrating the relationship between the whisky and its cask.

Chris Wilson, STCKMN: “I was excited to be commissioned by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society to create a one off, one-of-a-kind piece of art for the Distillers One of One release. As it was the first time the society had taken part in the prestigious event, it was a real opportunity to create something with visual impact to capture the attention of those attending the auction. With craft at the heart of the whisky making process, I wanted to reflect this in the design and the methods of production.

“The Only Drop is a handcrafted paper moulded sculpture that celebrates the relationship between liquid and cask. The liquid itself is represented by a ripple formation that’s inspired by the unrepeatable pattern of water in nature. With a single droplet representing the rarity of the release and to honour the casks’ contribution to the flavour in the whisky, we took wood shavings from the original casks and embedded them into the paper pulp sculpture. The idea being that when you place the sculpture onto the bottle it reunites the whisky with the cask as they once were during maturation.”

For more information and images please contact Sarah Belizaire at BB COMMS
or call +447828 074 930

Download the full Press Release here »