August 30, 2023
Scottish whiskey maker The Macallan is celebrating the sherry-seasoned, oak-casked work it is doing in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
Made up of five expressions aged between 12 and 30 years, the Color Collection is a travel exclusive, available via the brand's global boutiques, as well as specific airports and duty-free locations, starting in September 2023. Capturing the evolution of the distilling process’s many natural hues and the landscapes that make it possible, the bottles and their boxes were designed in collaboration with American artist David Carson.
“I hope the use of the natural environment as shown in the artwork speaks not only to the colors of the whiskey but to the heritage of the brand and its deep roots in nature,” said Mr. Carson, principal and chief designer of David Carson Design Inc., Del Mar.
“I also hope that the use of art, typography, collage and painting speaks to the unique creativity that goes into everything The Macallan does, and its global reach and appeal,” he said. “When you see some of the artwork that I created, there is often a sense of movement, of travel and of a positive spirit, and this Color Collection so well represents that.”
Spanish and Scottish swigs
Exclusivity runs through the veins of this release, from the limited locations where it can be purchased to the figures involved.
Though the artist with whom The Macallan decided to link up is not from its internal team, he is certainly no stranger to the industry. In the past, Mr. Carson has collaborated with brands like Italian fashion house Armani and German automaker Audi, bringing AIGA Gold award-winning work and nods to the land in his high-end creations.
With the Color Collection, he offers up his talents to The Macallan, uplifting the seasonal practices happening at the brand’s scenic Jerez vineyards (see story).
Mr. Carson and the minds behind the Scottish house worked together to design bottles, boxes and labels that express the single malt’s rainbow of natural colors and taste profiles, showing off the various stages of aging that occur due to oak contact. Turning from gold to chestnut, the whiskey’s life span and the ecological region of Jerez make an appearance in some form.
Bordered by the turbulent Atlantic Ocean, the Spanish hillsides provide hot summers and prosperous soils for fine winemaking. The setting serves as the foundation for the designs, with warm tones, clay, earthen textures and local architecture all playing a part in Mr. Carson’s artwork for the collection.
It is not just the Mediterranean nation that is given credit however, as The Macallan’s beloved home hills of Speyside in Scotland (see story) are also homaged in the project.
Wave patterns, the distillery’s silhouette and the artist’s use of technology in his graphic work all evoke visions of the brand’s history and modernity, both of which live in harmony on the River Spey’s five distinctive hills.
In another facet of nature-based appreciation, the boxes for the 12, 15 and 18-year-old expressions are made from recyclable substances and according to the brand, “eco-friendly materials.” The 21 and 31-year-old options come in wooden boxes, their source trees harvested from sustainably managed forests — these containers are also durable, with consumers encouraged to repurpose them consciously.
Altogether, it seems that the five-piece set is positioned as an internationally-minded, sensorial ode to the land, rather than solely another branding exercise.
“The inspiration comes from the time I've spent getting to know the great people at The Macallan, their backgrounds and learning about their passion for what they do at The Macallan, first from visiting the distillery in Scotland,” said Mr. Carson.
“Then meeting with the team in Jerez where the colors of the island are such an integral part of the entire Color Collection, including the white rock and buildings, the contrasting vines and leaves, and the casks themselves,” he said. “Hopefully the new packaging and artwork created for the campaign reflect not only the unique flavoring of these new releases but also the spirit in which they were created.”
Adding to the global appeal of the drop, the Color Collection is paired with a series of experiences and elements rolling out around the world.
Immersive art exhibitions are coming to London, Dubai, Shanghai, Singapore and Los Angeles, providing private tastings and gallery viewings of the original art pieces done by Mr. Carson.
Though the latter three activations have not been assigned dates or venues, London’s event is happening at the Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 from noon to 8 p.m. Bookings can be made here.
Next up is Dubai, which will be held in the Forum at Caesar’s Palace from Sept. 8 to Sept. 9 from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Those interested can find the registration link here.
For consumers who favor virtual touchpoints, an Augmented Reality experience can be unlocked using a purchased bottle from the collection. Through this technology, the story behind the travel exclusive will be told at https://www.themacallan.com/en/colour-collection-ar.