On location: The Macallan unveils new Colour Collection with an immersive art exhibition
At the iconic London landmark, Somerset House, The Macallan hosted the launch of its new The Macallan Colour Collection, a range of five exceptional single malt whiskies crafted from sherry seasoned oak casks. This collection will be available at key airports and select duty free venues from September 2023. Marking the revival of age statement whiskies, this collection symbolizes a triumphant return to The Macallan's global travel retail selection.
Unveiled through an immersive art exhibition, The Macallan Colour Collection is an exciting partnership with pioneering American graphic designer David Carson. Carson crafted stunning backdrops to elegantly present the whisky bottles, encapsulating the essence of the collaboration.He drew inspiration from Jerez, the birthplace of The Macallan's sherry seasoned oak casks. The outcome is an inspirational voyage through the origin of each age statement whisky.
Euan Kennedy, Lead Whisky Maker at The Macallan, shared his insights about this new collection in an interview with Global Travel Retail Magazine. Expressing his pleasure in introducing the collection to the travel retail market, Kennedy remarked, "The Macallan Colour Collection is an exciting new presence for us in the travel retail environment. It is a unique opportunity to explore something different in the travel environment not only for people who know The Macallan well, but also for people who are new to the brand."
Kennedy highlighted the significant opportunity presented to The Macallan through the reintroduction of the age collection into the travel retail community. He also discussed the collection’s emphasis on stories that are influential, the intricacies of capturing the natural colour and the essential need as whisky makers to be considerate of what each cask contributes to the process.
He added, “What I really like about this collection is that it brings a real cohesiveness to the travel and domestic market.” On one end of the spectrum lies the American oak predominantly employed in the crafting of the whisky for the Colour Collection, imparting a brightness and citrusy freshness to the flavor profile. On the opposite side, the European sherry oak casks that drives a rich color and the essence of dried fruits, with the double cask variety resting in the middle of this spectrum.
Kennedy fell in love with whisky making as a teenager traveling the world. “What resonated with me was that whichever country I visited, Scotch whisky had a real presence.” Whisky became his passion and after graduating from Heriot-Watt University's brewing and distilling course, he gained hands-on experience across the whisky industry including running a maltings and a distillery, and working in ready-to-drink product development.
In 2022, he became part of The Macallan team, drawn by the belief in its exceptional whisky. He sensed a shared mindset with Kirsteen Campbell, Master Whisky Maker, in their approach to whisky creation, philosophy, and future aspirations. Recognizing the brand's influential role in the global travel sector, they saw an opportunity to contribute to the whisky's evolving future.
The Macallan will be celebrating its 200th anniversary next year and I asked Kennedy for any hint of events for the bicentennial celebration. While refraining from disclosing specifics, he alluded to a wealth of exciting projects to mark the milestone commemoration. He wrapped up by emphasising the team's responsibility to craft a legacy for those who preceded them.
During the evening The Macallan hosted an exclusive whisky tasting session, allowing us to experience a curated selection from the Colour Collection first hand. Guiding us through the evening was Stefan Mases, Brand Education Manager, Global Travel Retail at The Macallan, who illuminated the conceptual essence behind this new collection, brimming with rich Spanish heritage and mystery. He shared how the collaboration with Carson triggered a reimagining of The Macallan's brand identity, incorporating the silhouette of the Speyside distillery into the logo. Mases also emphasized the remarkable oak casks, sourced from both America and Europe, that distinguish The Macallan.
He described how the Colour Collection predominantly matures within sherry casks crafted from American oak, imparting vibrant citrus and tropical notes. This distinctive collection of five whiskies embarks travelers on an immersive sensory voyage, unveiling the diverse spectrum of natural tones cultivated through the maturation process within The Macallan's sherry seasoned oak casks. Although crafted primarily from sherry American oak casks, the Colour Collection incorporates a touch of European oak, culminating in a selection of whiskies that radiate harmonious balance. During the tasting Mases highlighted the differences in both color and flavor of the individual whiskies in the collection and the impact of the aging process on these fundamental aspects.
Explaining the choice of the venue for the exhibition, Mases explained that The Macallan Estate and Somerset House share parallel legacies, with both tracing their origins back nearly five centuries. Just as The Macallan operates under a trust, so does Somerset House, facilitating entry for artists into the industry. In 1836, Somerset House became the repository for all United Kingdom birth, death, and marriage records. Meanwhile, at The Macallan, the unparalleled cask management system meticulously traces each cask's narrative from acorn to oak tree, unveiling its unique story.
Further exhibitions commemorating The Macallan's special collaboration with David Carson will take place in Shanghai, Dubai, Singapore and LA. These exhibitions will enable The Macallan community to fully engage with Carson's creativity and delve into the influences that gave life to the Colour Collection.