Whisky Advocate

The Macallan and naked women

November 14th, 2008

Well now. I just looked through hundreds of pictures featuring a beautiful, naked, blond lounging around the Macallan distillery grounds.

What I want to know is: where was she when I spent two days at Macallan and Easter Elchies House this past April? The only person I got to see was Bob Dalgarno (fully clothed, thankfully). I don’t know if I will ever be able to look at a pot still or whisky barrel the same ever again.

Ken Grier, Director of Malts for The Macallan and Highland Park, was the guy I worked with to get the “Legends” bottles for charity at WhiskyFest San Francisco. He brought past Macallan whiskymakers out of retirement for each of them to make one unique bottle of Macallan which raised thousands of dollars for charity at WhiskyFest San Francisco.

Ken thinks outside the box. I am not too surprised to read about his new venture, which features artwork (including photos of a naked woman) on 30 year old Macallan Fine Oak bottles. Details are outlined in a press release. I included excerpts of it below. There’s a link to the photos at the end of the press release, so you can see the pictures for yourself.

Colorful whiskymakers like Jim McEwan from Bruichladdich have for decades described stills as being sexy, and I remember master blender Richard Paterson referring to Speyside whiskies as voluptuous movie stars in lingerie (or something like that), but this takes it to the next level.


The Macallan single malt Scotch whisky is today (Thursday 13 November 2008) unveiling an ambitious £1.3 million limited edition bottling produced in association with world famous, Scots born photographer Rankin.

Returning to his homeland, Paisley-born Rankin, best known for his fashion photography and portraits of everyone from The Queen to Madonna, was invited to The Macallan’s Speyside estate to interpret the iconic whisky brand through his camera lens. The result is a series of 1,000 stunning black and white images, captured on Polaroid film. Each limited edition bottle of rare 30 year old Macallan Fine Oak single malt displays a bespoke label featuring one of the Rankin images, accompanied by the original Polaroid.  This collection of 1,000 unique, individual works of art is a world first and will be sold by luxury retailers worldwide.

The Macallan is ranked number two by value[1] among the world’s top selling single malts and is recognised as being a leader within the Scotch Whisky industry when it comes to innovation. Fine Oak now accounts for one in every four bottles of all sales of The Macallan, just five years after its launch. It has been the most successful, truly new Single Malt brand launch in history and is the whisky contained in The Masters of Photography bottle featuring the label shot by Rankin.

Ken Grier, Director of Malts, The Edrington Group, said:  “Our partnership with Rankin really is something different and daring for the Scotch whisky sector due to the range of images that will be featured on the bottle labels and we believe that there will be huge demand from consumers wanting to own a Masters of Photography bottle. 

“Demand for The Macallan’s range of premium whiskies has increased by 87 per cent over the last five years, particularly in our overseas markets and we have increased our production at The Macallan distillery to keep pace with this. We anticipate that The Masters of Photography bottle will generate interest amongst a wider consumer audience and will prove highly collectible both by whisky and art lovers.”

The unique bottle comes presented in a black leather box, lined with velvet and containing an original Rankin Polaroid. Each bottle will have an individually printed label which matches the specific Polaroid contained within the box and a booklet of authenticity signed by Rankin. 

The array of images captured by Rankin is breathtaking, depicting a range of locations around The Macallan estate, including Easter Elchies House, the distillery, dedicated craftspeople and still life images of the surrounding flora and fauna.  Many of the images are further enhanced with artistic nude studies, featuring Tuuli, Rankin’s muse.

The Macallan Fine Oak is triple cask matured in a unique, complex combination of exceptional oak casks.  This triple cask maturation is exclusive to The Macallan and combines European oak casks seasoned with sherry, American oak casks seasoned with sherry and American oak casks seasoned with bourbon to deliver an extraordinary smooth, delicate, yet complex Single Malt.

The Macallan Masters of Photography Fine Oak 30 year old bottles will be available for purchase throughout the world, and will be launched in Russia, Singapore, Korea and the USA over the next few months.  In the UK, The Macallan Masters of Photography Rankin Edition can be purchased exclusively at luxury retailers for £899 (RRP). 

The Macallan Masters of Photography will be unveiled this evening at a launch party in London.  An exhibition of the images featured on the limited edition bottles will be on show from 10am – 6pm, Friday 14 to Sunday 16 November, at the Huntingdon Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DP.

12 Responses to “The Macallan and naked women”

  1. Matthew says:

    So, let me get this straight. Now, in addition to tasting whisky, you can also browse nude photos and call it work?

  2. John Hansell says:

    Yes indeed! Not a bad job if you can get it! 🙂

    It would be even better if I could have tagged along with the photographer while he was at the Distillery!

  3. John – I got the press release/email as well. There is a movie of the photo shoot attached to the site.

    …and another thing — does Amy know about your ‘work’??

  4. John Hansell says:

    Gosh, I didn’t see the movie. I have to go and check that out. For research purposes, naturally.

    No, I don’t think my wife Amy knows about this one yet. She has my blog on her RSS feed, so it’s only a matter of time, I fear.

  5. Harvey Fry says:

    all great fun for those of us who would RATHER have our whisk(e)y WITHOUT all the costly/wasteful FRILLS, this is just another wart in the full-tilt EXCESS that could help the industry to the inevitable BUST, maybe sooner than we would’ve thought notso long ago.

    just my speculation i betcha if they offered ANY of these hifaloot’n’goodies BOTH with & w/o the superfluities (subtracting
    even half of the increased packaging cost) they’d sell a whole lot more of the bare bones versions to real whisk(e)y drinkers, real drinker/collectors & maybe even to a few of the ‘other’ collectors too. if they even experimented with something like this, they’d definitely boost their image with a bunch of us backbenchers.

  6. whisky girl says:

    Are you kidding? A naked woman and shots of the distillery? How does this make ANY SENSE??? What does a woman with NO CLOTHES ON have to do with whisky?

    If this makes any sense (which it doesn’t), where are the naked men???? This is a totally sexist project and I’m really DISAPPOINTED in The Macallan. Pathetic. Really freaking pathetic.

  7. lawschooldrunk says:

    I see how this marketing project fuses nicely with their “grow a tree for every bottle” project or whatever. What The…?

    give me a break…macallan is sub-par for my palate and no naked woman is going to change that.

  8. lawschooldrunk says:

    you know, I’m sure mark reynier thought of something like this, but at least he has enough sense not to carry through with it.

    their million different bottlings, though, are another story…

  9. Harvey Fry says:

    LSD: as large vattings of chillfiltered/diluted whisky go,
    i think Macallan is justifiably proud of their product. the
    problem is they think it’s worth far more than i do. when
    you put the traditional packaging foolishness (expensive
    has to look expensive) together with this warp the curve
    (if it costs more it must be better) marketing strategy, it
    seems you end up with just this sort of malarkey. when
    legitimate producers begin believing the transcendental
    monkeybusiness generated by their ad men, the actual
    down to earth value of the stuff they make tends to get
    lost in the shuffle.

    maybe the time has come for a system where there are
    two seperate regimes: one for the drinkers and drinking
    collectors & the other for those whose primary concerns
    are for other (than what’s inside the bottle) things.

    in a way we’re already there. then, again, maybe not.
    as long as our media’s attention to the high end things
    most of us will never get a taste of (much less buy) has
    the very real effect of keeping from us (even minimal)
    information on the myriad lesser lights that increasingly
    populate (there’s still a boom on) our larger markets,
    i guess we’ll just have to try and make believe there
    really is a whisk(e)y heaven.

  10. kallaskander says:

    Hello John,

    according to this

    Macallan spends £1.3 million on this limited edition.


    I must say that I find the actions of Macallan and their owners Edrington Group more and more disconcerting.

    Meaning I like what they do less and less. And that goes for their whiskies, too.

    What irks me the most is the mass production they are implementing with reopening a production line build in the 1960ies and closed in the 1990ies which will boost the capacity of Macallan from 6 to 8 million litres.
    But will quality be able to keep in step with such quantity?

    The signs I see and tasted seem to say: No!

  11. JON says:


  12. […] might remember the first time Macallan did this. I wrote about it here back in 2008. It involved a well-known photographer, a beautiful naked blond on the distillery […]

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