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The Macallan Red Collection launches - with brand's oldest ever whiskies

The Macallan is honouring the significance of the colour red in its brand history through a new range of rare single malt Scotch whiskies.

Named the Red Collction, this carefully curated selection of ongoing aged expressions and high-aged guest release features some of the world's oldest Scotch whiskies. Each has been distilled on The Macallan's copper stills and aged in its renowned oak casks.

At the heart of the collection are The Macallan 40 Years Old, The Macallan 50 Years Old and The Macallan 60 Years Old, the oldest ongoing expressions ever offered by the distillery with limited quantities available globally.

From time to time these core products will be joined by high-aged expressions, the first of which will be The Macallan 71 Years Old, The Macallan 74 Years Old and The Macallan 78 Years Old - with the latter two being the oldest bottlings ever released by the brand.

An extremely rare complete set of the Red Collection is set to be auctioned by Sotheby's after being gifted by The Macallan to raise funds for food charity City Harvest, which redistributes surplus from the food industry to vulnerable people across London. The Sotheby's auction runs from 22 to 31 October.

The colour red has long had significance for The Macallan - beginning with Alexander Reid (whose surname means 'the red one' in Scots), the farmer and teacher who founded the brand 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.

Fast forward to 1980 and red featured strongly in the release of The Macallan's then-oldest vintages, dating from 1938, 1940 and 1950. Allan Shiach, then chairman of the company, tied a red ribbon around the bottlings to denote their age and value. 

These three characters feature in an animated film created to mark the release of the Red Collection, made in collaboration with Spanish painter and illustrator Javi Aznarez and set to music recorded by acclaimed Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Each expression in the collection comes in an oak presentation box, made from the same sustainable European wood which makes The Macallan's casks. The boxes are upholstered with sustainably sourced soft red leather from Scotland's Bridge of Weir leather. A handcrafted case that can house the trio of ongoing or guest releases has also been developed by Scottish furniture manufacturer Method Design Studio.

Each of the ongoing releases has been hand finished and signed by Kirsteen Campbell, who was appointed master whisky maker at The Macallan in 2019 and is the first woman to hold this position at the brand. Sarah Burgess, lead whisky maker, has signed the initial guest releases. 

Kirsteen said: "Created from some of the world's oldest and rarest casks, it is an incredible privilege to have crafted the Red Collection, the pinnacle of The Macallan's portfolio. 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."

The Macallan Red Collection will be available from Harrods, The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and other selected specialist retailers from 15 October, priced between £11,300 for the 40 Years Old and £65,500 for the 78 Years Old.


16 October 2020 - Bethany Whymark