Uncover The Macallan's quest for perfection
For the master whisky-makers at The Macallan, the colour red is symbolic of two centuries’ heritage and a mark of unparalleled tradition and distinction.
There are six numbers that are guaranteed to turn any occasion into a red letter day at The Macallan distillery; 40, 50, 60, 71, 74 and 78. They belong to the aged expressions and high-age releases that represent the very pinnacle of The Macallan's portfolio: The Red Collection.
The Red Collection reflects the distillery's exceptional heritage and the rich range of reds that have occurred naturally throughout The Macallan's long and illustrious history. Those reds begin with the barley farmer and school teacher Alexander Reid, whose surname traditionally means 'the red one' in Scots, who founded The Macallan on a plateau above Scotland's fast-flowing River Spey in Scotland in 1824.
In 1903, owner Roderick Kemp launched The Macallan Choice Old range, which was reportedly shipped in cases labelled with distinctive red print to distinguish them from The Macallan's existing black-labelled whiskies. While in 1980, red featured once again when the company's then Chair, Allan Shiach, tied a red ribbon around The Macallan's then-oldest malts as a sign of their exceptional age and quality.
The Red Collection continues this tradition in both its labelling and its packaging: each bottle is presented in a handcrafted oak case, developed by Scottish furniture manufacturer, Method Design Studio, which is lined with sustainably sourced soft red hide from Scotland's Bridge of Weir leather.
The oak for the cases that house The Red Collection comes from the same Spanish forests that supply the seasoned wood for the distillery's unique casks. These casks are entirely responsible for the spectrum of natural colour that is essential to The Macallan single malt, from the antique gold, vintage oak and polished mahogany of the 40, 50 and 60-year-old releases that anchor The Red Collection, to the burnished copper, rose gold, and sunset hues that define the 71, 74 and 78-year-old malts, the oldest bottling The Macallan distillery has ever released.
As well as determining The Macallan's unique colouration, the quality of these oak casks play the most prominent role in ensuring and delivering the distinctive aromas and full flavours of these aged single malts during their long decades of maturation.
"Created from some of the world's oldest and rarest casks, it is an incredible privilege to have crafted the Red Collection," says Kirsteen Campbell, who was appointed Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan in 2019 and is the first woman to hold this position at the distillery. "It's thanks to the foresight of previous custodians of The Macallan, who laid down and aged these extraordinary casks, that we have been able to curate such a remarkable selection of whiskies."
Created from some of the world's oldest and rarest casks, it is an incredible privilege to have crafted the Red Collection.