To make their spirits unique, whisky makers usually follow some philosophy or guidebook. In the case of The Macallan, that ethos is known as The Six Pillars.
The Speyside distillery’s acclaimed single malts are all distinguished by Natural Colour, Mastery, Curiously Small Stills, The Estate, Exceptional Oak Casks and Sherry Seasoning.
The Macallan, which has dedicated past limited editions to each pillar to educate and celebrate them, has just unveiled the 2022 editions. The M, M Black, and brand-new M Copper, are created in honour of The Macallan’s pillars of Natural Colour, Mastery, and Curiously Small Stills respectively.
The Macallan M is a champion for its whiskies’ natural amber hue. Though Scotch-making laws allow for some caramel colouring to be added to whisky to achieve consistency, the distillery has defiantly chosen to let its spirits show off their original intensities. These colours come from the casks the spirits are aged in and are thus an homage to the time the liquids spent in contact with the wood.
With The Macallan M, the ingredients are 100 per cent natural and aged in sherry-seasoned oak casks, giving it its rich amber hue. It is carefully protected in Lalique crystal decanters. The nose opens with black cherries, demerara sugar, oak, and leather, with hints of chocolate and vanilla developing over time. In a rush of complexity that can only be expected from the very best whiskies in the world, its full-flavoured character imparts notes of chocolate, dried fruit and spice.
The Macallan M Black is named for the black-ended casks that give the spirit its peaty character. The brand does not typically produce peated whiskies, but it has indeed experimented with this bold flavour. As a matter of fact, the distillery has a small dedicated team of five, led by Master Whisky Maker Kirsteen Campbell and Master of Wood Stuart Macpherson, who constantly push the limits of whisky creation.
The aromas of apple, pear and citrus combine with a subtle smokiness that complement a palate of candied oranges, charred peaches, honeyed figs and dark chocolate. Besides the peat, there is spiced ginger in a long, smoky finish bolstered by raisins. In keeping with its name, The Macallan M Black comes in a black Lalique crystal decanter.
Last but not least, the M Copper — The Macallan’s newest expression — pays tribute to the distillery’s Curiously Small Stills. The Macallan has always maintained top-notch quality by using smaller stills instead of larger, more powerful ones. As a result of their unique shape and size, the stills concentrate the new-make spirit, which gives The Macallan’s whisky its rich and robust character.
The golden spirit leads with a nose of banana, pear and white peach flecked with biscuit, marshmallows, vanilla, and a whiff of lemon. It is buttery and viscous on the palate, framed by malty, spiced oak and more banana. A long, oaky finish completes the M Copper’s fruitiness and sweet, malty taste. This intense whisky also dazzles in a copper-coloured Lalique decanter.
The Macallan’s creativity goes beyond its spirits. Collaborations with designers and craftsmen extend to the bottles and packaging. For the 2022 M Collection, the distillery has once again partnered with 134-year-old French crystal maker Lalique, and roped in creative director Fabien Baron, founder of creative consultancy Baron & Baron, to create the elegant decanters.
“It is an honour to work with The Macallan — our long-standing partner for 16 years — to realise this exquisite collection and showcase our shared sense of mastery, craftsmanship and heritage,” says Silvio Denz, Chairman and CEO of Lalique. “The decanters are completely unique in the world of decanters, very difficult to produce because of their shape, and Lalique’s masters of crystal have relished applying their most complex skills to bring Fabien Baron’s creative vision to life.”
The M Collection and The Macallan’s Six Pillars are further illustrated with a series of striking images by renowned luxury fashion photographer Nick Knight, whose abstract and expressionistic style complements the whiskies’ visual story. Symbolising the distillery’s connection to the River Spey, which runs through the estate, each decanter is encased in blocks of ice.
Connoisseurs will have the opportunity to explore The Macallan M Collection in-depth at an Ion Orchard Atrium pop-up event from Aug 17 to 26, 2022. The collection is available exclusively at The Macallan Boutique at Raffles Singapore.