These Incredible Japanese Ice Cube Sculptures Will Make Your Next Whiskey Look Incredibly Dull

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See how these incredibly detailed Japanese ice cube sculptures are made

If you’re a whiskey lover, these Japanese ice cube sculptures will have you craving a tumbler-full immediately.

We’ve all seen elaborate ice sculptures at weddings, or even complex innovations which promise to keep our drinks colder for longer, but Japanese whiskey maker Suntory has gone one step further and created the world’s first Japanese ice cube sculptures!

In a collaboration with Tokyo-based advertising agency TBWA/HAKUHODO, Suntory have created a selection of bespoke and intricate Japanese ice cube sculptures with a CNC router cutting machine, crucially cooled right down to -7°C. As part of their 3D on the Rocks campaign, ten whiskey fans were invited to submit their own unique design ideas, and were presented with their very own ice sculpture, submerged in golden, Suntory whiskey.

The chosen shapes included various historical sites and iconic landmarks, as well as iconic cultural figures, such as Batman, Michelangelo’s David, the Statue of Liberty and, the no doubt trickily detailed, Kinkaku-ji Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto.

 

Luxury Ice Cube Sculptures from Japan horse

Miwako Fujiwara from TBWA/HAKUHODO detailed the carving process, which took anything from between 1 and 6 hours, depending on the complexity of the ice cube sculpture’s design, and was chosen as a method to illustrate Suntory’s philosophy – bringing “the art of Japanese whiskey” to life, using ice as an art form. TBWA/HAKUHODO used the Autodesk 123D app to capture the desired 3D image and instruct the CNC router.

A variety of sharp tips of different sizes were used to carve the larger shapes and also provide more realistic detail, mirroring the artisanal, highly specific distilling process which goes into Suntory Whiskey production, and has done since 1923.

3D printing software and equipment is generally understood to work best with harder, less temperamental materials like wood and plastics, so ice was a particular challenge for TBWA/HAKUHODO, and required “the passion and precision of the best Japanese artisans.”

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Images: Suntory and TBWA HAKUHODO “3D on the Rocks”

Suntory, one of the most established alcohol firms in Japan, is noted for its award-winning whiskeys, and prides itself on “(embodying) the harmony that exists between Japanese nature and Japanese people”. Their ice sculpture campaign demonstrates they’re innovative and they have certainly partnered with the right agency to deliver an effective campaign.

TBWA/HAKUHODO represent Nissan, Renault and Adidas, amongst many other brands, both well-known and up and coming.

TBWA/HAKUHODO have won awards for a variety of campaigns, and the Japanese ice cube sculpture one is no different, winning a design award at Adweek’s Project Isaac Awards and a Lotus award at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival, both particularly prestigious accolades in the advertising industry.

Its promotional video illustrates the detailed, close-up complexity of the carving process, how it was designed, and the astounding end result – “a touch of chilled whiskey polishes the surface of the ice and gives a beautiful shine to the sculpture.”

Check out this video to see the process in action:

With luxury manufacturers continuing to experiment with 3D printing, and the technology itself becoming more and more accessible, it hopefully won’t be too long before we can order a whiskey poured over the Eiffel Tower in just a few minutes, rather than 1-6 hours. What shape of Japanese ice cube sculpture would you choose?

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