Most of us should be so lucky as to have a 3D printer lying around that we could use to print out our fantasies. Dewar’s, famous for their White Label blended Scotch whisky, decided to take that idea and turn it on its head. In the name of their new Highlander Honey, a spirit drink infusing Blended Scotch whisky with natural flavors, they enlisted the help of 80,000 live bees, who were able to 3D-print some custom sculptures. Yes, you read that correctly.
Via the 3-B Printing Project, Dewar’s was able to blend natural design with some technical wizardry in order to birth their creations: a replica of the Highlander Honey bottle and a bust of the Dewar’s Drinking Man, the spiritual mascot of every whisky lover out there.
To pull it off, designers first crafted molds of their sculptures using specialized CAD software. Each mold was textured with strategically placed hexagons of beeswax that provided a familiar blueprint for the bees to create their own honeycomb. That meant guiding the bees in building their new home, as a honeycomb's hexagonal cells lend it incredible strength and structure — perfect for design. The molds were then placed inside clear plastic enclosures that the bees could enter and leave of their own volition, freeing them to travel to the flowers lining the 3-B lab and collect the pollen needed for their honey and beeswax. From there, they placed a queen bee inside each mold. Her pheromones compelled the bees to construct a nest for her.
The nests are, to the human eye, natural sculptures fit for the finest galleries.
Each sculpture is symbolic of the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle they make, well before the long, loving sips you take from your favorite cocktails. But it’s how the sculptures are made that’s truly fascinating.
Looking at the finished work, you see how nature met tech to make something beautiful and uncanny. It's the kind of thing you admire with a glass of expertly handcrafted whisky on the rocks. Head here to see the bees working live on the next sculpture, and remember to drink Dewar's Highlander Honey responsibly.