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Tales of The Macallan decanters will sell for £60,000 each

By Chris Saunderson

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The Macallan has unveiled Tales of The Macallan Volume I, the first limited edition whisky in a series of distinguished and rare single malts which tells the story of The Macallan pioneers and their whisky-making legacy.

The Tales of The Macallan. Picture: Ralph Dunning
The Tales of The Macallan. Picture: Ralph Dunning

Tales of The Macallan Volume I, The Laird of Easter Elchies (1659 - 1715) is an homage to Captain John Grant, the man who in 1700 realised the potential of Easter Elchies Estate, the land that has been home to The Macallan Distillery since 1824.

It is a story of a man who rejected convention and convenience to pursue a greater purpose and set new standards of excellence, and reflects the heritage, craftsmanship and pursuit of uncompromised excellence which has driven The Macallan for nearly 200 years.

Born in 1659 in a remote location on the banks of the River Spey, John Grant embarked on a military career in his youth, becoming a captain and fighting in the war. The Grants had owned the land since 1543, but it was on John’s return from war, that his vision transformed the wild landscape he had inherited into the ‘garden of Elchies’, the birthplace of The Macallan.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti at the Craigellachie Bridge.
Violinist Nicola Benedetti at the Craigellachie Bridge.

A natural farmer, John worked the land to create the perfect conditions for growing barley and his labours helped to sustain a small farming community that would one day use its crops to distil whisky.

In 1700, he extended and refurbished Easter Elchies House which sits high on a hillside overlooking the River Spey and is now the Spiritual Home of The Macallan.

His strong sense of place and deep respect for nature, as well as his legacy of community spirit, live on through The Macallan today.

Tales of The Macallan Volume I is an exceptional 1950 single malt whisky crafted by lead whisky maker for The Macallan, Sarah Burgess to honour John Grant’s legacy. Distilled in 1950 and bottled in 2021, it is a distinctive and rare expression with exceptional flavour and character.

Sarah Burgess said: “Tales of The Macallan tells of remarkable individuals and an exceptional spirit, a story of The Macallan’s incredible pioneers. Each of these people left their mark on The Macallan with their unique contribution and legacy alive in our brand’s DNA and in every drop of our whisky to this day.

Each decanter is expected to sell for £60,000.
Each decanter is expected to sell for £60,000.

“Tales of The Macallan Volume I is a tribute to Captain John Grant, whose contribution paved the way for The Macallan and brought the influence of nature and community spirit. As custodians of the Estate, we are continuously inspired by our environment, upholding our responsibility to nurture and protect the wonderful natural habitat that is home to our distillery.

“Just like The Macallan Estate and Easter Elchies House, this precious whisky echoes of a very old tale. Wood spices, sweet wood smoke and antique oak are omnipresent and make a perfect liaison with the delicate symphony of ripe fruits and spices.”

Encased in a bespoke handcrafted Lalique crystal decanter, this exceptional single malt is concealed within an extraordinary almanac book. A true work of art, each chapter tells the story of John Grant and features illustrations by renowned illustrator, Andrew Davidson.

The exclusive launch tells the story of John Grant.
The exclusive launch tells the story of John Grant.

United by a dedication to craftsmanship and creativity, The Macallan collaborated with Andrew Davidson to create a collection of hand-crafted illustrations depicting Captain John Grant’s story. Known for his traditional print techniques using wood engravings, Andrew’s work has included postage stamps for the UK’s Royal Mail, designs for the glass doors at Wimbledon’s Centre Court and Harry Potter book covers.

To create the unique packaging for Tales of The Macallan Volume I, The Macallan also partnered with an array of suppliers, combining the skills of master craftsmen in crystal, leather and paper.

Long-standing partner, master French crystal maker Lalique fashioned the flawless crystal decanter to house the whisky, etched with one of Andrew Davidson’s captivating illustrations and featuring a bespoke transit stopper by artisan craftsmen J.C. Ribiero.

Lalique and The Macallan first came together in 2005 and since then have collaborated on a range of exquisite decanters and products. Tales of The Macallan marks the next chapter in this long-standing partnership and is a testament to the two houses’ shared quest for excellence.

Traditional London-based bookbinders, Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and Zaehnsdorf, which specialises in fine binding, restoration and conservation of books and manuscripts, created the unique Tales of The Macallan Volume I book.

Hand-crafted using luxurious leather and 24ct gold leaf, this demanded extraordinary technical expertise to conceal the decanter within its 800 plus pages. Artisan printer, Imprimerie du Marais in Paris, which creates luxury pieces using specially developed paper, ink and printing processes, expertly printed each individual page.

Andrew Davidson said: “When you have a story to tell, you will always find a way, a medium to share it. Each artist finds his own paintbrush and mine is made of wood and metal, burnished by time and hungry to keep telling tales from the past and the future, and The Macallan has united the most experienced bespoke masters from different fields to help tell the story of its origins.

“Legacy is in each one of our gestures and in each technique, handed down centuries ago and still alive today."

To mark the launch of Tales of The Macallan Volume I, a powerful animation has been created to bring to life the story of John Grant. The short film features a selection of Andrew Davidson’s illustrations and is set to an original piece of music composed by Nicola Benedetti, one of the world’s most influential classical artists of today.

Just 350 decanters have been produced and each is expected to sell for around £60,000.

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