Glenfiddich teams up with artist Utamaro to back Yozakura release

By Kristiane Sherry |

Glenfiddich’s digital art installations will roll out across select airports.

Speyside single malt Scotch whisky distillery Glenfiddich has partnered with BAFTA-winning artist Fantasista Utamaro to create a digital art experience to support the release of Grand Yozakura 29 Year Old in select airports.

Grand Yozakura 29 Year Old, released in March 2023, is finished in ex-Awamori casks in a world-first. It is part of the Grand Series of innovative single malt expressions from the William Grant & Sons-owned distillery.

Japanese artist, director and designer, Fantasista ‘Uta’ Utamaro has created the immersive installations, which will be on view in Singapore, Seoul, Taipei, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong during the cherry blossom season.

One of four different artworks will appear on a digital screen at a time, with QR codes available for users to access the virtual gallery via their devices.

In Taipei and Hong Kong, shoppers will be able to use VR headsets to ‘step into’ the virtual gallery and view all four pieces up close.

Utamaro is inspired by Japan’s cherry blossoms and imagines how they’ll be viewed at night. He references the florals alongside other symbols of Japanese culture in his technicolour pieces, including Sakasa Fuji mountain, the crane, the night sky and the playful ​​Koi fish.

Each installation sees digital screens act as ever-changing canvasses to catch the eye of passers-by. A new piece will be displayed each week in reference to Hanami, the traditional Japanese concept of appreciating the fleeting beauty of the cherry blossoms. 

Passengers at will be able to use VR headsets to view the works in virtual galleries.

The digital artworks evolve the animations from inception to final form in a time-lapse, said to reflect Glenfiddich’s commitment to innovation and creativity. 

“The Grand Series underpins Glenfiddich’s spirit of innovation and Grand Yozakura is no exception,” said Claudia Falcone, Glenfiddich Global Brand Director. 

“It is perhaps the most ground-breaking expression to sit alongside the series so far, whilst also being the first limited edition release. 

“Bringing together two scarce components accentuates the anticipation and sense of occasion, paying homage to the brand’s innovative nature when it comes to creating dynamic whiskies of the highest quality. 

“We’re thrilled to be working with Utamaro on this project and his passion for creating pieces of art really demonstrate and reflect the rarity and spirit of the new liquid.”  

Fantasista Utamaro’s work brings in elements from Japanese culture.

Utamaro added: “Creating this art, that showcases the beauty of Japanese culture, has been an honour. 

“I like to push the boundaries of what people expect from traditional art; blending technicolour and manga-style to bring Japanese symbols of culture to life. 

“I enjoyed using these digital artworks to represent elements of the Scottish and Japanese processes used to create the whisky itself such as the inclusion of the iconic Glenfiddich stag head incorporated with Yozakura.”

Last year Glenfiddich launched its Perpetual Collection, hailed as the brand’s biggest launch in travel retail in the past decade.

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