Photographs of Dried Whisky Residue on the Bottom of Scotch Glasses


Photographer Ernie Button has a unique project called Vanishing Spirits in which he photographs the bottom of Scotch glasses once the whisky has evaporated way. The residue creates textures and colors that make the photographs look as though they’re images of otherworldly planets.

The project was born one day when Button was putting away a used Scotch glass into his dishwasher. He noticed that there was a film on the bottom of the glass that caused “fine, lacey lines” to cover the bottom surface. He found that every time whisky dried off, it would leave a unique pattern behind that have the individuality of snowflakes.

He then began using lights of different colors to bring these patterns and textures to life, creating an illusion of landscapes, terrestrial locations, and extraterrestrial planets.

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.















Over the past six years, Button has accumulated over 70 of these whisky residue photographs, and the project is an ongoing one that continually sees new images being added.

You can find more of the images in this project over on Button’s website.

Vanishing Spirits: The Dried Remains of Single Malt Scotch [Ernie Button via NPR]

Thanks for sending in the tip, Harry!

Image credits: Photographs by Ernie Button and used with permission

  • Banan Tarr

    Many of these are much more interesting and artistic than that first one which appears to have part of the photographer’s forehead in it… lmao

  • Jason Kim

    it looks like mold….

  • mary

    He drank a lot of scotch. Bottoms up!

  • cheap

    hmm… reminds me about my past enthusiasm to single malts, having eyed the similar stains at the bottoms of glasses, someone then had to do this eventually. why not print them on t’s and they will be the new tie-dye?

  • Burnin Biomass

    That is really cool! Plus, its a good excuse to drink.

  • Kay O. Sweaver

    “…lights of difficult colors…”

    Spellcheck is no replacement for an editor.

    That said these are awesome. Very reminiscent of the paintings that my roommate makes.

  • Jake

    Reminds me of when I would let the coffee grounds at the bottom of the mug (bush coffee = no filter) drip after I was finished drinking, and the shapes would look like painted mountain landscapes.

  • Michael Zhang

    Much thanks :)

  • what next

    skid marks in my jocks

  • charles

    they are interesting, I assume the photographer is playing with light setups and temperatures? All distillates are water clear, so the coloured residue is from the charcoaled barrels used for storage and/or any mix the drinker may add to the scotch.

  • Steve Call

    Abigail. if you, thought Lori`s st0ry is surprising… last thursday I got a great McLaren F1 after bringing in $8884 this-last/five weeks an would you believe $10,000 lass-month. it’s certainly the best job I’ve ever done. I started this 8-months ago and almost immediately started to make over $83, per/hr. I use this here great link,,, ………… BIT40. ℂom

  • Dave

    We now know what the inside of a scotch drinkers liver looks like.

  • Lew Bryson

    Looks like shots from a colonoscopy.