Now in Singapore: A rare collection of the world's oldest Scotch whiskies
What makes a bottle from The Macallan Red Collection worth up to S$117,900? Whisky enthusiasts can now see a full collection at The Macallan Experience at Raffles Singapore.
There’s a popular saying that goes: Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art. When it comes to the world of Scotch whisky, this saying holds particularly true. For decades, Scotch whisky has been lauded for its nuance in nose and palate. And it’s the ageing process where Scotch whisky gets its distinction.
The Macallan, one of Speyside’s most celebrated distilleries, and one of the world’s most collected whisky brands, has now unveiled The Red Collection, an exquisite range of distinguished and rare single malt Scotch whiskies. It features a curated selection of ongoing aged expressions and high-aged guest releases, available in limited quantities globally.
Distilled decades ago, in The Macallan’s signature small copper stills, each expression in The Red Collection has been matured in the distillery’s oak casks, under the watchful eye of several generations of whisky makers. Over time, these single malt whiskies have been shaped and influenced by carefully selected casks to deliver elegant aged whiskies.
Anchoring The Red Collection is The Macallan 40 Years Old, The Macallan 50 Years Old and The Macallan 60 Years Old. These remarkable single malts are the oldest ongoing expressions ever offered by The Macallan.
From time to time, the collection will be joined by special high aged guest releases, commencing with The Macallan 71 Years Old, The Macallan 74 Years Old and The Macallan 78 Years Old.
These incredibly rare single malts are among the world’s oldest Scotch whiskies, with The Macallan 74 Years Old and The Macallan 78 Years Old being the oldest bottlings ever released in the history of the brand.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF RED
If you’re wondering what’s in the name, the collection “pays homage to the significance of the colour red to The Macallan’s history and heritage”, the whisky maker said in a press release. The distillery charts this history back to its founder Alexander Reid, whose surname means "the red one" in Scots.
In 1903, owner Roderick Kemp launched The Macallan Choice Old Range, which were reportedly shipped in cases labelled with a distinctive red print to distinguish it from The Macallan’s existing whiskies, which featured black labelling.
Fast forward to 1980, and red featured strongly in the release of The Macallan’s then-oldest vintages, dated to 1938, 1940 and 1950. Allan Shiach, chairman of The Macallan at that time, tied a red ribbon around the sought-after bottlings to denote their age and value.
For The Macallan, red is more than just a colour. It’s a common thread that links several of the whisky maker’s most significant milestones through the decades.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
Each bottling in The Red Collection is encased in a swanky oak presentation box, created from the same sustainable European oak used to craft The Macallan’s oak casks.
The boxes are upholstered with sustainably sourced soft red leather from Scottish supplier Bridge of Weir Leather, which creates upholstery for leading luxury car brands across the globe.
A bespoke handcrafted case that can house the trio of ongoing or guest releases has also been developed by Scottish artisan furniture and objet d’art manufacturer, Method Design Studio.
Each of the ongoing releases in The Red Collection has been hand finished and signed by Kirsteen Campbell, who was appointed Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan in 2019. Campbell is also the first woman to occupy the role in the history of the brand, which spans almost 200 years. Sarah Burgess, Lead Whisky Maker for The Macallan, has signed the initial guest releases.
“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,” Campbell said.
Since its launch, The Red Collection has already been garnering collector interest.
In October 2020, a complete set sold for US$975,756 (S$1.3 million) at a Sotheby’s auction. Although the auction garnered the interest of collectors all over the world, it was eventually snapped up by an Asian collector.
The set offered by Sotheby’s differs from the standard set in that each bottle featured exclusive labels, illustrated and signed by Spanish artist Javi Aznarez. The set was gifted by The Macallan to City Harvest London, a UK food charity that redistributes surplus from the food industry to vulnerable people across the city. Proceeds from the sale will provide almost two-and-a-half million meals for those in need.
Collectors and whisky enthusiasts in Singapore now have a chance to view the standard collection up close. An exclusive, complete set of The Red Collection is now being displayed at The Macallan Experience at Raffles Singapore. The pop-up, which launched in October 2020, has now been extended till May 9.
Collectors can also purchase individual bottles at the pop-up. Prices start at S$20,500 for The Macallan 40 Years Old, reaching S$117,900 for The Macallan 78 Years Old.
For more information on The Macallan Experience, click here