Throughout June visitors can be immersed in an installation which brings to life the beauty and vibrancy of Japan at night, celebrating the launch of Glenfiddich’s latest addition to the renowned Grand Series, the ultra-rare, limited edition 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura.
This June, for one month only, Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky presents Tokyo After Dark at Harrods; an immersive art installation inspired by the vibrant beauty of Japanese city nightlife, created in collaboration with MTArt Artist, Japanese-inspired ceramicist King Houndekpinkou. The collaboration marks the launch of the limited-edition Glenfiddich 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura, a collision of Scottish and Japanese distilling resulting in the first single malt Scotch whisky finished in exceptionally rare ex-Awamori casks.
This innovative whisky is inspired by Hanami, the ancient tradition where Japan appreciates the fleeting beauty of nature through the sakura (cherry blossom). A time for renewal and optimism, the festival is best experienced at night when the sakura are illuminated, known as the Yozakura or ‘night sakura’.
Tokyo After Dark is an installation infused with inspiration; the central art piece representing a pivotal moment in King’s life and career: a conversation had in an izakaya (a traditional style of Japanese bar) that ultimately led him to becoming a ceramicist. The installation is a luxury reimagining of an izakaya, infused with King’s experiences in Japan and the inspiration he has taken from Hanami.
King Houndekpinkou says, “Japan is a beautiful place, yet after dark the essence of its culture gets magnified (e.g., fireworks festivals, the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri festival, the cherry blossoms at night) and the inspiration behind Glenfiddich Grand Yozakura reminded me of my own story and memories of my time in Japan. They were the starting place for this concept. In summer 2012, I met the person who introduced me to pottery and changed my life forever. That evening we shared a few drinks at an izakaya in Tokyo. In Japan, it’s custom that you pour drinks for others and vice versa. Through this installation I am sharing my experience with the visitors by pouring my story, represented by the wave, into someone else’s metaphorical cup.”
Influenced by traditional ceramic practices of Japan, King re-interprets yakishime, a wood firing technique of ancient Japanese pottery, which gives a specific raw texture to his ceramics. His creations depict the relationship between the everyday, the visceral, and the sacred; grounded in a vessel as a sculptural base.
The Tokyo After Dark experience spans across two spaces on Harrods’ fifth floor. In one space, a breathtaking piece of experimental ceramic art created by King Houndekpinkou will adorn the length of the room. Embodying the tradition of pouring into another’s cup, one side of the room has a large textured ceramic vessel from which a wave of midnight-blue fabric erupts, intermingled with hand-made pink cherry blossom petals and hues of gold fabric. The blue is representative of the Tokyo midnight sky, the cherry blossom petals nod to Hanami, and the gold reminiscent of this exquisite whisky. The sweeping wave will wash overhead, the fabric “pouring” into the artist’s second ceramic work, a larger-than-life deep blue cup, representing the telling of stories between companions; the pouring of one cup into another. The vessel and cup are both made in King’s stunning signature style – textured ceramic pieces in dark blue mottled tones, finished with his iconic gold detailing.
The adjacent second space will add to the izakaya-inspired atmosphere with additional seating that invites visitors to sit and enjoy the space. Headphones and iPads situated in both rooms provide a chance to learn more about the partnership, featuring a video: ‘in conversation with’ King which offers behind the scenes footage of his creative process, explanation of his inspiration and the creative concept behind Tokyo After Dark. A range of Glenfiddich whiskies are available to purchase, including limited edition bottles of 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura.
Joining the prestigious Grand Series, Glenfiddich 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura celebrates the ephemeral moment when Japanese cherry blossoms are admired when illuminated after dark. Reflecting its namesake and rarity, only a limited number of Grand Yozakura bottles are available in the UK.
Glenfiddich UK Brand Manager, Zoi Fysari, says, “Glenfiddich 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura, the latest limited-edition release within the renowned Grand Series, exemplifies our brand’s maverick spirit, which is utterly embodied by this unique collaboration. Just like Hanami, Tokyo After Dark is a fleeting moment of beauty borne by Glenfiddich single malt Scotch whisky and Japanese-inspired ceramic artist King Houndekpinkou. The immersive setting is designed to transport visitors to Tokyo’s vibrant nightlife, while exploring more about the partnership and Glenfiddich’s portfolio.”
Throughout the installation in June, Baccarat Bar will be serving up Glenfiddich 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura, a perfect way to continue your Glenfiddich journey after visiting Tokyo After Dark. With Father’s Day falling on Sunday 18th June, it is the ideal way to treat a father figure in a truly opulent way. Five exquisite Glenfiddich cocktails will also be available, including; Barley Cider with Glenfiddich Orchard Experiment, oxidated plum cordial and clarified apple juice, nutmeg and cardamom (£20). Schleger Effect with Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Solera Vat, Palo Cortado sherry, fermented honey, vanilla and mandarin (£25). Copper Haze with Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Gran Reserva, mango, sudachi, brown sugar and wood smoke (£35).
Additionally, Baccarat will be giving guests an opportunity to further indulge with a Glenfiddich Grand Series flight with a selection of paired sweet and savoury treats including; Gran Reserva: Passionfruit and coconut bon bon, Grand Cru: Champagne caramel sorbet, Grand Couronne: iberico ham with grape-miso caramel and Grand Yozakura: Sour ice cream, caviar, sudachi dressing. Bookings for the Baccarat Bar can be made here.
The Tokyo After Dark exhibition is situated on the fifth floor of Harrods and will be open to the public during store opening hours from 31st May to 29th June. To learn more about Tokyo After Dark visit www.glenfiddich.com/tokyo-after-dark.
Glenfiddich 29 Year Old Grand Yozakura will also be available to purchase from Harrods in-store on the fifth floor, within the spirits section on floor -1 or online here. To learn more about Grand Yozakura visit https://www.glenfiddich.com/grand-yozakura