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Turning storytelling into craft with Bethan Gray

Award-winning designer Bethan Gray drew on nature, culture, and her family’s mysterious legacy to reinterpret The Glenlivet as a collectible design object.

EXPLORE HOW AWARD-WINNING DESIGNER BETHAN GRAY DREW ON NATURE, CULTURE, AND HER FAMILY’S MYSTERIOUS LEGACY TO REINTERPRET THE GLENLIVET AS A COLLECTIBLE DESIGN OBJECT.

Translating a 50-year old whisky into a luxurious collectible bottle is a complex task. Heritage, craft, technique, and taste all need to mingle in one perfect expression. With our Master Distiller Alan Winchester set for retirement, The Winchester Collection Vintage 1967, his final batch, is the culmination of his extraordinary career. Every detail needed to reflect the rare talent and history contained in each bottle, so The Glenlivet’s first ever packaging- and bottle-design collaboration was conceived.

Enter critically-acclaimed designer Bethan Gray. Recipient of four Elle Decoration British Design Awards, her work has been celebrated in Paris, London, New York, Milan, and Dubai. With a love of semi-precious materials and sensual patterns, her pieces are influenced by her far-flung travels and fascination with Islamic art and craft. Effortlessly referencing the classical while reinventing the contemporary, Bethan’s unique talent made her the perfect designer to create the modern emblem that would house Alan’s 50-year old whisky.

Coincidentally, Bethan has a unique tie to The Glenlivet. Her grandfather, who encouraged her creativity by carving objects out of solid wood for her as a child, was a Research Forester in Cairngorms, home of The Glenlivet.

Embarking on a nostalgic journey back to the Glen with Alan Winchester, Bethan found herself captivated by its enigmatic natural beauty. The Spey River’s twisting torrents and swirling layers of mist inspired a unique reimagining of her iconic Dhow pattern and laid the foundations for the Vintage 1967 bottle.

Bethan lovingly poured the magic and exactitude of our whisky-making process into each handmade bottle. Under her meticulous eye, each limited-edition piece was glass blown by master glassblower Brodie Nairn, who created an ombre effect that symbolizes the aging process for the precious liquid inside. Hand-cut and displayed in a hand-stained birds-eye maple case, the bottle has been overlaid with solid copper, in a nod to The Glenlivet’s copper stills. Finally, each piece is inlaid with delicate mother-of-pearl, inspired by the gleaming freshwater mussel shells that can be found in the Spey.

Our collaboration didn’t end there. In a unique celebration of craft, Bethan teamed up with The Glenlivet to create The Glenlivet Bar—a bespoke experience for the London Design Festival’s design junction. Serving a specially created menu of food and whisky cocktails, Bethan’s brass and marble bar, developed using a special method to inlay solid brass, took center stage.

Bethan’s opulent and sensual reimagining of The Winchester Collection Vintage 1967 into unique collectible pieces has been instrumental in commemorating our Master Distiller’s final batch. We raise a dram to her rare talent.