Spirit Of The Week: The Macallan ‘Colour Collection’ Single Malt Whisky

The beloved Speyside distillery returns to age statement whiskies featuring colorful boxes created by acclaimed graphic designer David Carson.

(The Macallan)

Legendary whiskymaker The Macallan returns to the world of age statements with their new Colour Collection—a quintet of single malts crafted in homage to their commitment to the virtues of natural color. While Scotch rules allow for the use of caramel coloring, The Macallan eschews the cheat code for color earned righteously, a gift of the Speyside distillery’s use of sherry barrels in their aging.

Available only in global travel locations, the Colour Collection spans from the youngest 12 Years Old expression up to 15, 18, and 21 Years Old all the way to the grand Colour Collection 30 Years Old—surely set to light collectors’ eyes aflame. 

A new collection from arguably Scotch’s most revered label deserves its fair share of pomp and ceremony, especially when it marks a return to explicitly labeled aging, and The Macallan obliged by hiring acclaimed graphic designer David Carson. The California raised artist came to national attention as the longtime Art Director of the wildly visually creative cult music magazine Ray Gun (look it up, kids), and his expertise in typography was certainly tapped for the Colour Collection.

“The starting point for this project was really the new logo, that was a long process of a couple hundred versions and that led to all this,” Carson tells us from a downtown Los Angeles party thrown in his and the Colour Collection’s honor. 

The Macallan

Behind him hangs a giant canvas bearing the collage he made symbolizing a refreshed brand identity for The Macallan, featuring broad strokes of white paint splashed on cut-up slices of the new logo he designed—one whose font lines follow the gentle swoops of their Aberlour distillery. 

“The collage was going to be the Colour Collection but they also wanted it to represent Jerez,” Carson continues, namechecking the Spanish region famed for its unique Albariza soil, which is rich in calcium carbonate and ideal for sherry wines. “All the white symbolizes the chalky soil where they get their material for their casks.”

For the creative partnership, Carson parallels the process he used in collaborating with Trent Reznor on Nine Inch Nails’ The Fragile and And All That Could Have Been album covers. 

“Just the synergy with the person and the creative people, that’s why it worked.”

(The Macallan)

Every barrel The Macallan uses is made of either American or European oak, and ages Oloroso sherry for somewhere between 18 to 24 months. The casks are then shipped up to Scotland where The Macallan pours their exceptional single malt—distilled in small copper pot stills for terrific viscosity—into them to mature for at least the amount of years printed on the Colour Collection’s labels. 

The sherry component is critical to The Macallan, not only infusing its whisky with deep amber hues but also its distinct flavor and aromatic notes. While the American oak offers the round sweetness of vanilla and honey, the Euro oak adds baking spices and stone fruit. 

The Colour Collection will be available only at in The Macallan Global Boutiques located at JFK, London Heathrow, Taipei Taoyuan and Dubai International Airport, as well as handpicked duty-free locations worldwide. Prices range from $80 for the 12 Year Old bottle to $4,455 for The Macallan Colour Collection 30 Years Old. 

Follow Deputy Editor Nicolas Stetcher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.