Simon Wittenberg looks at Tales Of The Macallan Volume I, the latest release from the renowned Speyside distillery.
The Macallan distillery in Scotland has unveiled Tales of The Macallan Volume I, the first edition in a remarkable new collection of distinguished and rare single malt Scotch whiskies, which tells the story of The Macallan’s pioneers and their whisky-making legacy.
The first expression in the new series is in tribute to Captain John Grant, the man who in 1700 realised the potential of Easter Elchies Estate, the land that has been home to The Macallan for nearly 200 years. Born in 1659 in a remote location on the banks of the River Spey, John Grant pursued a military career in his youth, becoming a captain and fighting in the war. The Grants had owned the land since 1543, but it was on John’s return from battle that his vision transformed the wild landscape he had inherited into the garden of Elchies.
A natural farmer, John worked the land to create the perfect conditions for growing barley, helping to sustain a small farming community that would one day use its crops to distil whisky. In 1700, he extended and refurbished Easter Elchies House, which sits on a hillside overlooking the River Spey, and is now the Spiritual Home of The Macallan. His strong sense of place and deep respect for nature, as well as his legacy of community spirit, live on through The Macallan.
The new expression, which retails at £60,000, and is limited to just 350 decanters worldwide, is an exceptional 1950 single malt whisky crafted by Lead Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess to honour John Grant’s legacy. Bottled at 44.6% ABV, Tales of The Macallan Volume I boasts a golden aiguillette hue and has a nose of grapefruit zest, antique oak, vanilla, melon, wood smoke, nutmeg, ripe plum and almond. On the palate, whisky connoisseurs are treated to a hint of peach and apple, wood spice with ginger and hints of clove, sweet wood smoke and Yuzu. The medium finish comes with citrus and sweet oak.
Housed in a bespoke handcrafted Lalique crystal decanter, this exceptional single malt is concealed within an extraordinary almanac book. A true work of art, each chapter depicts the story of John Grant and features illustrations by Andrew Davidson. Andrew created a collection of handcrafted drawings telling Captain John Grant’s story. Known for his traditional print techniques using wood engravings, his work has included postage stamps for the UK’s Royal Mail, designs for the glass doors at Wimbledon’s Centre Court and Harry Potter book covers.
Sarah Burgess explains that the Tales of The Macallan reflects remarkable individuals and an exceptional spirit, a story of The Macallan’s incredible pioneers. She said that each of them had left their mark on The Macallan with their unique contribution and that their legacy lives on in the brand’s DNA and whisky.
To create the unique packaging for Tales of The Macallan Volume I, The Macallan also partnered with an array of suppliers, combining the skills of master craftsmen in crystal, leather and paper. Long-standing partner, master French crystal maker Lalique crafted the flawless crystal decanter to house the whisky, etched with one of Andrew Davidson’s captivating illustrations and featuring a bespoke transit stopper by artisan craftsmen J.C. Ribeiro.
Traditional London-based bookbinders, Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and Zaehnsdorf, which is renowned for its fine binding, restoration and conservation of books and manuscripts, created the unique Tales of The Macallan Volume I book. Hand-made using luxurious leather and 24ct gold leaf, this remarkable tome demanded extraordinary technical expertise to conceal the decanter within its 800 plus pages. Artisan printer, Imprimerie du Marais in Paris, which creates luxury pieces using specially developed paper, ink and printing processes, expertly printed each individual page.
Furthermore, to mark the unveiling of Tales of The Macallan Volume I, a powerful animation has been developed to bring to life the story of John Grant. It features a selection of Andrew Davidson’s illustrations and is set to an original piece of music composed by Nicola Benedetti, one of the world’s most influential classical artists.
Tales of The Macallan Volume I – Where and How?
Tales of The Macallan Volume I has an RRP of £60,000 and is available at The Macallan Estate, The Macallan Boutiques and premium off-trade retailers. For more information, visit www.themacallan.com.
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