Vanishing Spirits: The Dried Remains of Single Malt Scotch, An Ongoing Photographic Project

dried up whisky

A glass or two of Scotch can definitely play tricks on the senses. Loyal Scotch drinkers swear by their spirit and are known the world over to be fiercely loyal to the brew. Photographer Ernie Button of Phoenix, Arizona found other altered states directly related to Whiskey consumption, but not exactly what you would expect. What Button accidentally discovered were ethereal, planet like globes, and this was not because he had consumed the drink to a point of drunken stupor. Instead, a totally sober Button made the discovery while cleaning up some glasses that had been used earlier for some scotch.

residue of single malt scotch on bottom of glass

As he was putting the glasses into the dishwasher, he noticed patterns at the bottom surface he described as “fine, lacey lines.” One would imagine he saw something akin to a little oil streak seen in water. Being the ever curious photographer, he took note of the observation and began to consistently see the “fine, lacey lines,” in other empty scotch glasses, but in different patterns. This was obviously the evaporated residue left behind, he thought.

dried single malt scotch on bottom of glass

Seeing a potential gem to photograph, he began experimenting with lights of different colors, reflecting them on the bottom surface of the glasses. The results surely did not disappoint. What he produced were dazzling globes mimicking a universe of planetary assortment. He very aptly calls the series Vanishing Spirits. The round shapes showed intricate detail of landscape like surfaces of undiscovered worlds. Button has over 70 photographs of this whiskey residue planetarium, and counting. Button elaborates on his discovery,

“Some of the images reference the celestial, as if the image was taken of space; something that the Hubble telescope may have taken or an image taken from space looking down on Earth. The circular image references a drinking glass, typically circular, and what the consumer might see if they were to look at the bottom of the glass after the scotch has dried.”

whisky dried up on bottom of glass

Not that this is an excuse to get smashed, but we think Mr. Button may have created the latest reason to have a drink of Scotch. Bottoms up, everyone!

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.