Hand-mounted rubies and precious metals adorn the decanters produced by Scotland’s Glencairn Crystal to house Glenfarclas’ Pagoda Ruby Reserve, the newest addition to its Pagoda Reserve Series and its oldest whisky to date.
The limited-edition is aged for 62 years—a number marked on the hand-blown decanter using 34 color-matched rubies. Made from 30% lead crystal, lending it its “ultra clarity”, the decanter features a red crystal pagoda-shaped stopper, a nod to the symbol of Scottish whisky production and Glenfarclas’ pagoda-shaped kiln.
“Conceiving the tall, intricate, magnetic pagoda stopper was a huge development project for us and a first when it came to using precious rubies to embellish the decanter,” commented Glencairn Crystal new product development director Scott Davidson.
Given that the pagoda stopper is taller than the average decanter top, it presented a significant challenge. “If it had been fixed directly to the hand-crafted fitted cork then there was a risk it would have been subject to slight movement, ultimately loosening the cork. This could have led to evaporation and possible contamination of the whisky,” the company explains to Luxe Packaging Insight. Glencairn thus developed a secondary closure with a magnet at its base while the pagoda top has the mating magnet allowing the bottle and top to fit together snugly, with the shorter secondary closure ensuring that the whisky is fully protected.
Glencairn also highlighted the challenge of finding rubies that had an exact color match. “We sourced a high-end supply of rubies pre-selected for their color, but even then we needed a better match so we over-ordered additional stones to allow for a second, ruby by ruby, selection process for each piece. Only when we had an exact match for all 34 did we proceed.” The rubies are individually mounted on the decanter via a clasp mechanism similar to that of a diamond in an engagement ring, ensuring they resist everyday use.
In terms of decoration, which was done in-house at Glencairn, the sides of the decanter feature Chinese Guardian Lions in a deep red. The collars (solid silver and gold plated depending on the edition) are individually numbered and infilled with a unique design, while the engraving on the Pagoda top is designed to represent the Silk Road. “The use of our deep-fill engraving and infill means we can achieve a far more intense color on the container and a satisfying tactile feel to lifting, touching and cradling the decanter,” the brand said.
Ruby Reserve is available in two editions: Limited Edition Silver (180 700ml bottles and 62 magnums), and Collector’s Edition Gold, with 50 bottles (700ml) and 50 magnums. Prices range from £22,716 for the Limited Edition Silver 700ml decanters, to £53,546 for the Collector’s Edition Gold magnum decanters (1.5 liters).
Glenfarclas will add the Pagoda Sapphire Reserve 63 years old this summer.