Spanning two continents and thousands of miles, the incredible wood journey undertaken to create The Macallan’s hand-crafted, sherry seasoned oak casks has been chronicled in extraordinary new detail by iconic Magnum photographer Steve McCurry.
His exclusive photographic journal, which is revealed in full for the first time, showcases the people, places and processes involved in the production of The Macallan’s exceptional oaks casks.
Crafted to unique specifications, The Macallan’s oak casks are the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colour and distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan’s peerless single malts.
The images also provide a compelling new insight into the mastery of wood and spirit for which The Macallan has been renowned since 1824.
Steve McCurry said: “The thing I admire about The Macallan is their passion for craftsmanship, their excellence and their integrity for their processes.
“Sometimes you have to choose a different path – the one less taken – to go beyond hardship, to reach excellence.”
Firstly, the photographer, recognised as one of today’s finest image makers and synonymous with evocative colour photography, made the trip to the vast green forests of Northern Spain, the source of European oak for The Macallan casks. Then he journeyed to Jerez, Southern Spain where The Macallan’s casks are hand-crafted and seasoned with sherry – one of The Macallan’s defining strengths.
McCurry also travelled to Pennsylvania to discover the influence of American oak. Grown in the lush forests in the North East of the US, it is key to the unique flavour of The Macallan’s highly successful Double Cask range that balances both American and European sherry seasoned oak casks. After leaving America, these casks are also shipped to Jerez to be crafted into casks and filled with sherry, using the same traditional processes applied to the European oak.
When fully seasoned, each cask is transported to The Macallan Estate home to the award-winning Distillery on Speyside. It is then filled with the finest quality, new make spirit ready to be matured under the watchful eye of The Macallan Whisky Mastery Team.
As well as evoking the sights, sounds and even the smells of the forests where the oak trees that form The Macallan’s casks are grown, McCurry also reveals the mastery and commitment of those who craft The Macallan’s casks, including the coopers – professional cask makers – who spend many years learning and perfecting their art.
Stuart MacPherson, Master of Wood, The Macallan, said: “Steve McCurry is one of the world’s greatest documentary photographers and we are privileged that he has expertly captured The Macallan’s wood story through his incredible lens.
“Our people and their craftsmanship have defined The Macallan for almost 200 years and Steve’s outstanding images provide a unique insight into the intensive process of sourcing, crafting and seasoning our exceptional oak casks.
“With up to 80% of The Macallan’s final flavour and character determined by cask quality, Steve has recorded the painstaking commitment and attention to detail that we uphold to deliver the uncompromised excellence that lies at the heart of our brand.”
Steve McCurry’s interpretation of The Macallan’s wood journey is his latest partnership with The Macallan. It follows his previous work with the brand to document the build of The Macallan Distillery, alongside fellow Magnum photographers, in 2018.
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
(23 May 2019, London) Highland Park today announces the launch of Søren Solkær 26 Years of Photography – a limited-edition single malt whisky that’s been created in honour of Danish photographer, Søren Solkær.
Best known for his portraits of world-famous musicians including Björk, The White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, David Lynch, The Arctic Monkeys, R.E.M. and U2, Søren has worked with Highland Park since 2016 to capture the brand’s Viking Soul – taking over 250 images of the people of Orkney, the distillery and the island itself.
Matured in sherry seasoned American oak casks and first fill Bourbon casks, the limited-edition liquid has a spicy nose with a rich heathery peat smoke. The packaging is inspired by a traditional, vintage square shaped box camera and contains a 230-page book featuring a selection of Søren’s work split into three key themes: men, women and places.
The whisky will be available to purchase globally from 23rd May 2019. UK retailers include The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Harrods. RSP £499.
Jason R. Craig, global brand director, Highland Park, said: “We are delighted to be working with Søren on this very special project. He truly embodies a modern day Viking Soul through his unique photographic style and how he gets the best out of all his subject matters.
“Whilst he is best known for his distinctive images of musicians and movie stars, he has worked with us to develop a collection of over 250 images capturing our people at the distillery, our location in Orkney and of course, our whisky.”
Søren Solkær, said: “My journey began 26 years ago when I decided to leave my literature studies and pursue my passion for photography. From my homeland in Denmark, I travelled many thousands of miles with my camera, exploring some of the world’s most fascinating places, absorbing each new environment I found myself in and photographing the people I met which helped me grow into the visual storyteller that I wanted to be.
“During those 26 years, the whisky that now bears my name stayed in just one place, sheltered from the same world I was so busy exploring. A contrast perhaps, but in its quiet warehouse in the remote Orkney Islands, this whisky too was absorbing the environment around it and slowly acquiring rich nuances of flavour and character to mature into the fine spirit it is today.
“We shared a similar journey of honesty and integrity, of patience and craftsmanship to arrive here together, 26 years on.”
For more information visit: www.highlandparkwhisky.com
The Macallan has unveiled its next Masters of Photography edition in collaboration with the world’s most famous photographic cooperative, Magnum Photos.
Marking the seventh limited edition release, The Macallan Masters of Photography: Magnum Edition celebrates the opening of the new Macallan distillery and visitor experience.
The creation of the new distillery will forever change the landscape of The Macallan Estate and this special release documents this historical moment, telling The Macallan story in a new and compelling way, as some of the world’s leading photographers record the next stage in the journey of the world’s ultimate single malt whisky.
This awe-inspiring collection of images, taken by six world renowned Magnum photographers – Steve McCurry, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Mark Power, Gueorgui Pinkhassov and Alec Soth- captures different aspects of the iconic distillery. From the landscape and the materials from which the distillery is born, to the character of the workers and protagonists who have brought it to fruition, artistic portraiture of people and casks complement more abstract representations of the building and its unique structure.
This magnificent and world class collectible set of images comes together as a limited edition objet d’art, presented in a stunning archive style gift box. It comprises a special limited release whisky; a selection of six signed prints, one from each photographer, and an exclusive book of photography. The box that holds the collection was influenced by the classic photographic portfolio boxes on display at the Magnum studio.
By immersing herself in the photography, The Macallan Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess has created a single malt crafted from a combination of eight casks, all differing in character to reflect the photography style of each of the Magnum photographers and to represent Magnum itself.
A spicy gingered cask reflects McCurry’s bold and brave style; a cask of age where oak influence prevails over individual characteristics symbolises Parr’s oblique view of the world; a classic cask with an intense black cherry note complements Pellegrin’s forceful black and white pictures; two casks reflect Power’s photography which captures the familiar, but from an often obscure point of view; an ex-European red wine cask imparting a rich mahogany red colour represents Pinkhassov’s contrasting and brightly coloured work and a first fill American barrel with its delicate citrus notes captures Soth’s heritage and spirit of adventure. The final cask is an intensely sweet yet classic Macallan with edge and depth, bringing the whole creation together and representing the imagination and brilliance of Magnum.
Ken Grier, Creative Director for The Macallan, said: “Magnum are the ultimate masters of their medium, offering incredible diversity and distinction within their ranks and capturing all aspects of human life around the world with an unparalleled sense of vision, imagination and genius. They are the greatest collective of documentary photographers in the world and their partnership with The Macallan reflects our shared values of craftsmanship and commitment to excellence.
“For the first time in The Macallan Masters of Photography series, we are working in partnership with multiple photographers to tell the story of the new Macallan distillery and the people behind it, taking it from genesis to completion. This coveted edition shows history in the making against the backdrop of The Macallan’s ongoing commitment to mastery.”
Tim Paton, Global Head of Commercial Assignments for Magnum Photos, said: “This project has been a wonderful assignment for both the photographers and the Agency. To be given this amount of creative freedom on a commercial project is very rare. The photographers were literally shown the building site and told to shoot whatever they liked.
“Both myself and the six Magnum Photographers have loved visiting The Macallan and witnessing this amazing building grow out of the ground. We first visited the site when it was just a hole in ground so we all feel very connected to this wonderful piece of architecture. All the staff and contractors have been great to work with and very welcoming. This beautiful part of Scotland will forever be a big part of Magnum Photos history.”
The Macallan Masters of Photography: Magnum Edition will be available globally from September 2018, priced at £2,700 and limited to 2,000 editions worldwide.
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
Whisky Makers Notes:
Colour: Deep amber with rose gold hues
Nose: Light hints of peat layered into warm spiced ginger with mellow oak notes. Gently coming behind these notes, are an almost tangerine citrus and caramelised apple
Palate: Candied dried fruits and a butterscotch sweetness with a tickling of spice that moves into a honeyed nut note
Finish: Medium to long finish ending in sweet earthy peat notes
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