In the world of whisky, one word comes up often: scarcity.
No surprise then that a single bottle of The Macallan 1926 Fine and Rare 60-year-old — dubbed the “holy grail of single malts” — sold for £1 million ($1.85 million) last month, becoming the first bottle to hit the landmark figure in an online-only sale.
Or that The Macallan’s newest unveiling, The Red Collection, has already achieved £756,400 at auction.
The latter, a set of six whiskies aged 40 years to 78 years and bottled in 2020, had the added distinction of benefiting charitable organisation City Harvest London.
Thankfully, there’s still room for collectors who missed out on that sale. Limited bottles of The Red Collection have been released, including a “very, very small allocation” (in the words of brand ambassador Randall Tan) to Singapore.
While the set at auction was distinguished by illustrations by celebrated Spanish artist Javi Aznarez, these standard bottlings of The Red Collection feature labels that give prominence to their age statements.
The collection is, after all, anchored by three of the oldest ongoing expressions ever offered by the whisky maker — The Macallan 40 Years Old, The Macallan 50 Years Old and The Macallan 60 Years Old.
They are currently joined by three “guest releases”, the even older and rarefied The Macallan 71 Years Old, The Macallan 74 Years Old and The Macallan 78 Years Old, which are among the world’s oldest Scotch whiskies. Such exclusive high-aged guest expressions join the collection’s ongoing releases from time to time.
Priced from $20,500 for the 40 Years Old to $117,900 for the 78 Years Old, a full set of six is currently displayed at The Macallan Experience at the Raffles Arcade, with individual bottles available for purchase. (The distiller’s pop-up spiritual home in Singapore, which launched in October 2020, has now been extended till at least 9 May 2021.)
Like a seal of authenticity, heritage and provenance, each bottle has been hand-finished and signed — by glass ceiling-breaking women, to be clear (#IWD2021!). Kirsteen Campbell, the first woman in nearly 200 years to be appointed Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan, has autographed the bottles of the ongoing releases, while Lead Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess has signed the initial guest releases.
“It’s thanks to the foresight of previous custodians of The Macallan, who have laid down and aged these extraordinary casks, that we have been able to curate such a remarkable selection of whiskies,” said Campbell.
“Each precious drop offers a unique opportunity to explore The Macallan’s whisky-making legacy. The incredible elegance and rich flavours of the expressions that form The Red Collection are a direct result of the craftsmanship, knowledge and skills nurtured by our master whisky makers, past and present.”
Distilled and laid down decades ago, each expression is essentially shaped by several generations of whisky makers.
The name of the collection is a further nod to The Macallan’s storied past. The last name of founder Alexander Reid, literally means “the red one”; in 1903, then-owner Roderick Kemp shipped cases of The Macallan Choice Old range labelled in distinctive red print; and decades later, in the 1980s, red featured strongly in the release of The Macallan’s then oldest vintages (1938, 1940 and 1950), which were tied with red ribbons to denote their age and value.
Each bottle from The Red Collection comes encased in an oak presentation box crafted from the same sustainable European oak used to craft The Macallan’s prized sherry-seasoned casks. The box is also upholstered with beautifully supple, sustainably sourced leather by Bridge of Weir Leather, which creates upholstery for leading luxury car brands.
In the bottle, each expression may be otherworldly on the palate, but its real value is in encapsulating the quintessence of The Macallan through history.
For more information on The Red Collection and The Macallan Experience, click here.
Raffles Arcade at Raffles Hotel Singapore, 328 North Bridge Road, #01-04 to 10; ; instagram.com/themacallan_singapore; facebook.com/themacallan.sg