Simon Wittenberg takes a look at the oldest whisky ever to be released by the renowned Speyside distillery.
The Macallan is literally “reaching new heights” by unveiling its oldest ever expression in the form of a rare 81 Years Old. Named “The Reach”, only 288 decanters are available worldwide, priced at an eye-watering £92,000 each. Crafted during the Second World War in a period of increasing hardship, this new flagship whisky was laid down in 1940 before the Speyside distillery was forced to close for the first time in its history after opening in 1824.
The Macallan’s latest spirit originates from a single, sherry seasoned oak cask. Kirsteen Campbell, Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan, explains that its deep auburn hue is the first hint of the whisky’s astonishing depth.
She added that it offers notes of dark chocolate, sweet cinnamon and aromatic peat, leading on to treacle toffee, crystalised ginger and charred pineapple. Those lucky enough to try it then have the pleasure of an intensely rich, sweet and smoky finish.
Reflecting its rarity and importance, The Reach is offered in a unique presentation design courtesy of a collective of Scottish artisans. A tale of collaboration and connectivity, the result is a handcrafted quartet of liquid, glass, bronze and wood that is a fitting tribute to The Reach.
Sculptor Saskia Robinson created the timeless sculpture featuring three hands, following countless drawings from every angle, before working in a physical medium. The veins, nails and skin detail are recorded in extraordinary accuracy, modelled on an artist’s impression of a skilled hand of one of the original still men.
The sculpture is cast in bronze, and the glimmer of the metal contrasts beautifully with the dark amber whisky.
The surface of the glass decanter has subtle indentations that combine with the fingerprints of the bronze hands, which support it, while a beautiful cabinet crafted using wood from a fallen elm tree, which is thought to have been on The Macallan Estate in 1940, houses the decanter.
A short movie has been produced by the renowned London-based photographer Nadav Kander, who worked closely with his art director, Matt Willey (formerly of The New York Times Magazine). Featuring original music composed and recorded by Scottish band Mogwai, recently shortlisted for the prestigious Mercury Prize, it tells the story of The Macallan’s legacy and the collaborative process behind the rare 81 Years Old.
The Reach by The Macallan – Where and How?
For further information about The Macallan and The Reach, visit www.themacallan.com.
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