This month's current auction features the full stunning Drop by Drop Velier Warren Khong Collection; a series of six limited edition rums.
The collection launched in 2017, to celebrate the legendary Velier's 70th anniversary. Luca Gargano selected six rums from Mauritius, Japan, Barbados, St. Lucia, Jamaica and Guadeloupe, which he believed to have the exacting qualities worthy to be bottled exclusively for the collection. The Warren Khong Collection is one of the most collectible rum collections to have been released in recent years, creating a cult-hype amongst the rum community. You can find some excellent reviews and tasting notes on a number of the bottles featured in the collection at SingleCaskRum.com.
We decided to get in touch with Warren Khong, the artist behind the striking design of this collection to discuss how he got involved in such an exciting project, his artistic inspiration and the big question - is he a fan of rum?!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and your passion for art?
I've always had a passion for art, but it was one my my high school teachers that encouraged me to go into it 'full-time' instead of as a hobby way back when. So I'm someone that is really blessed to be able to do what I love as my career. That I also enjoy spirits and am able to produce artworks for labels furthers this 'marriage' of both work and pleasure.
What does your artwork represent? Does it represent something about you?
My work is based on my artistic research into the notion of 'material' and the questioning of what can be used as a material; both tangible and intangible, towards art making to continue the notion of what can art be or become within this particular set perimeter.
What was your inspiration behind the artwork for the labels in the Drop by Drop collection?
For this series, the artworks were created with bright, vivid colours chosen for their connotation to the Caribbean as well as through a technique that allows for the paintings to look almost as though created at random, yet is in actuality highly precise in the exact application of each drop and swirl of pigment. This alludes to how controlled the distillation process of the rum is, yet allowing for so many layers in its final expression.
This is not the first range of labels you have designed, how did you get involved in designing spirit labels?
Through Marlene Leon of La Maison du Whisky. She's a very good friend and the person that first introduced me to whisky. Years ago, she asked if I would be interested in having my artworks as spirit labels. I said yes and it's been an exciting journey ever since.
Do you enjoy rum yourself? If so, how were you first introduced to rum?
Yes, and I was first introduced to it through Luca of Velier. When we first met, he was very passionate and articulate about it to me. So I tried his products, was immediately convinced and here we are now.
Do you have a particular style of rum you are passionate about?
Aged, funky and fruity ones.
Have you tasted the rums that feature in the Drop by Drop collection for Velier's 70th Anniversary?
Not yet, but I expect to do so very soon.
A huge thank you to Warren Khong for taking the time to chat with us and tell us about the inspiration behind his work on the Drop by Drop Velier Collection.