Table of contents:

A Brief History Of The Decanter: From The Beginnings Of Glass Making To Luxury Goods
A Brief History Of The Decanter: From The Beginnings Of Glass Making To Luxury Goods
Video: A Brief History Of The Decanter: From The Beginnings Of Glass Making To Luxury Goods
Video: Glass Blowing - Jason Ruff - Decanter series 2023, February

A decanter is a glass or crystal vessel for serving and storing alcoholic beverages. Translated from Latin, "de-canther" means "separation of a part from a whole without stirring

Together with The Maccallan, we tell you when glassmaking was born, when the first products for storing alcohol appeared, why crystal is considered the most valuable material and how modern luxury alcohol producers use it.


The two main properties of glass are its transparency and high chemical resistance: it is able to withstand the destructive action of water, salt solutions, moisture, and sunlight.

The first objects made of artificial glass were discovered in Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, in the Bronze Age. And the fact that glass can be transparent, people knew already in the II millennium BC - the first samples of transparent glass were found in the 18th dynasty pharaoh Tutankhamun: some images on things were covered with transparent glass plates.

Clay and metal products

Before the Venetian masters raised glassmaking to a new level, vessels for storing wine were made mainly of clay and metal (bronze, silver, gold), less often of marble. One of the oldest surviving items is the Euphronius crater, dating back to 500 BC, in which the ancient Greeks stirred water and wine. In 1972, the New York Metropolitan Museum bought this crater for $ 1.2 million from an art dealer from Rome, and almost 30 years later it turned out that it was stolen. As a result, in 2008, the product returned to its homeland and is now kept in the Cerveteri Museum of Archeology.


Venetian glass

Already in the X century, Venice became the center of glassmaking. Craftsmen were ranked among the privileged strata of the population - for example, in the 14th century, the marriage between a glassmaker's daughter and a Venetian patrician (aristocrat) was recognized as equal, and in the 15th century laws were passed that actually prohibited craftsmen from leaving the republic - so the authorities wanted to keep the secrets of glassmaking and keep the monopoly. By the 16th century, Venetian craftsmen were able to make glassware of incredible shapes and complexity, with a large number of decorative elements, while they generally used transparent glass with a great aesthetic effect. The period of domination of Venetian glassmaking ended already in the 18th century, when the production of Venetian glass began to open in France, Germany, Italy and even England.


Crystal is a type of glass that contains 24% lead oxide, which increases the dispersion of light in it. Crystal lends itself better to cutting and carving, therefore products made from it are distinguished by a bright and multicolored play of light. Crystal is considered high-quality Venetian and Czech glass - by the way, by the end of the 17th century, the Czech Republic took the palm in glassmaking from Venice, which began to produce glass products from colorless glass decorated with carvings or engravings, which began to be called Bohemian crystal.

Despite the fact that experiments with crystal began thousands of years ago, the material in its modern form was obtained only in 1676 by the English master George Ravenscroft.


However, it was France that made the crystal the property of the whole world, namely the French manufactory "Vones-Baccarat", which began to produce especially valuable crystal baccarat.


1888 year

Jeweler René Lalique founded his company Lalique, which to this day is one of the most famous French manufacturers of crystal and jewelry. Lalique experimented a lot with glass, making sculptures and vases, as well as bottles for the Coty perfume brand and others.

Today the company produces tableware and other decorative items, has its own jewelry and perfume collections, and collaborates with many famous artists and brands.

Luxury item

Many alcoholic brands produce limited editions of their products in exclusive packaging. These limited edition bottles are invariably the subject of a collector's hunt as alcohol investment is considered one of the most reliable and profitable.

In 2018, whiskey was recognized as the most profitable investment of all luxury investment assets, ahead of vintage wines, art, antique coins, watches and diamonds. The consulting company Knight Frank calculated that the value of Scotch whiskey as an investment asset has grown by 40% over the year, and by 582% over the past ten years.

Most often, collectors choose whiskey from such manufacturers as The Macallan, Dalmore, Bowmore, Springbank and others as an investment.

The most expensive whiskey in the decanter - The Macallan M in a 6-liter crystal vessel Lalique (there are only four such in the world) - was sold at Sotheby's for $ 628.205.

The brands have partnered since 2005, and recently The Macallan, on the occasion of the opening of a new distillery in Speyside, presented a limited edition 72-year-old whiskey in Lalique Genesis decanters, the design of which follows the architectural design of the distillery. The whiskey was released in only 600 copies and will surely prove to be a desirable lot for collectors.


Popular by topic