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Japanese Floral Artist And Designer Azuma Makoto Collaborates With Glenmorangie Whisky



Japanese floral artist, botanical sculptor and co-founder of Jardins des Fleur Azuma Makoto is known for his extravagant, otherworldly floral arrangements. Makoto, who has worked with fashion label Dries Van Noten and even launched a bonsai into space, was most recently tapped by luxury Scottish whisky Glenmorangie to design a stunning label for its 18 Year Old Expression.

The new limited-edition bottle, the 18 Years Old Azuma Makoto Limited Edition Single Malt Whisky, is a collectible bottle guaranteed to delight collectors. For the label, Makoto created a display, called Dancing Florals of Glenmorangie, using more than 100 blooms with confetti-like petals. The blooming display is depicted on the bottle’s limited-edition label and gift box. 

“When I first tasted Glenmorangie 18 Years Old, each sip of the whisky unfurled as if it was a flower in bloom,” says Azuma Makoto. “I could taste so many blossoms dancing on my tongue, that I was inspired to reimagine the whisky in Dancing Flowers of Glenmorangie. I hope that through this limited edition design, my work brings as much joy as the delicious tastes which inspired it.”

The blooms coincide beautifully with the exquisite flavors of the 18 Year Old, which feature aromas of dried fruits and floral fragrances, including geranium, jasmine and narcissus. The whisky balances sweet, floral notes and rich marmalade with flavors of honey, hazelnuts, walnuts, figs, and hints of wood smoke. It has a silky mouthfeel and a beautiful color, like honey. The whisky won a Platinum medal by the American Spirits Council of Tasters and a gold award at the International Spirits Challenge 2021. 

The beautiful composition of the bright blooming flowers against the black backdrop ensures that the bottle will look beautiful on your bar.

Makoto has had quite the journey that has led him to the world of flowers. The artist moved to Tokyo in 1997 to pursue a career in punk music, until he discovered the Ota Market, a Japanese flower and vegetable market that piqued his interest in flowers. He co-founded Jardins des Fleurs, a boutique flower shop in Tokyo that he opened with photographer Shiinoki Shunsuke. 

Makoto’s work celebrates the Japanese floral art ikebana, which is the classical art of Japanese flower arranging. The rules of ikebana include appreciating things that people tend to ignore, including nature. Makoto went on to create provocative flower arrangements, sculptures and designs that defy the classic idea of floral design. For example, he sent a 50-year-old bonsai tree into space to prove the resilience of flowers and plants and frozen multicolored floral arrangements as part of a sculpture. 

The artist treats his floral designs like a science experiment in a laboratory. He even launched an experimental art collective Azuma Makoto Flower Laboratory (AMKK), again in collaboration with his Jardins des Fleurs co-founder Shiinuke Shunsuke, in Milan, Belgium and Shanghai. Through this “laboratory,” artists create floral designs in unexpected settings and further push the boundaries of floral sculpture and art.

The limited-edition bottle launched on November 2 and is available for purchase.