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Anecdotes of Ages Collection

A New Era of Advertising

In the 1920’s, a small stamp began appearing at the bottom of letters, bearing the slogan: “Whisky! Open a bottle of MACALLAN to-night”.

The Macallan. The Malt

This original label collage artwork designed by Sir Peter Blake is one of the 13 Anecdotes of Ages Collection labels, which share special stories relating to our community, history and The Macallan Estate’s beautiful natural landscape.

Sir Peter Blake’s label reflects a point in the company’s history when the first, proper advertising campaign appeared during the 1970s.

Eccentric and charming, a series of small press ‘ads’ lauded The Macallan with mentions of ‘curiously small stills’ and the insistence upon using sherry oak casks. 

In March 2021 this unique bottle will be auctioned to raise funds in support of the Guggenheim’s new Diversity, Equity, Access & Inclusion initiative.

It wasn’t the first advert. In the 1920s, a half million bus tickets were printed bearing The Macallan name.

In the same decade, a small stamp, emblazoned with the words, ‘Whisky! Open a bottle of MACALLAN to-night’, was affixed to countless letters. However, by 1979, the annual marketing budget totalled just £25. It was time for a closely guarded secret to become an open one.

Anecdotes of Ages Collection A New Era of Advertising Label Designed by Sir Peter Blake

The Story Behind the Label

Chairman Allan Shiach (whose parallel career as a screenwriter includes the film Don’t Look Now and, more recently, The Queen’s Gambit) appointed legendary marketing man, Hugh Mitcalfe, to the task. He commissioned David Holmes, a painter whose watercolour of Easter Elchies House forms the backdrop to Sir Peter Blake’s label, to lead the campaign.

Together with writer Nick Salaman and, later, artists such as Peter Till, Peter Brooks and Axel Scheffler, Holmes orchestrated a cannon of work at first welcomed and later, amongst aficionados, eagerly anticipated.
The Macallan Anecdotes of Ages Collection A New Era of Advertising by Mary McCartney
Sir Peter’s affectionate collage includes Allan, Hugh and the hatted David in front of the in front of Easter Elchies House. In turn, Mary McCartney’s photograph juxtaposes the labelled bottle against the castellated roof of the building as it stands today.

The extraordinary 1967 single malt it holds is no less a work of art, juxtaposing familiar flavours of oak and strawberry with exotic, almost Gauguin-esque notes of mango, ginger and nutmeg. Lead Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess has nosed a single malt of definitive expression that commands attention.

Stories to Share

Throughout Sarah’s exclusive collaboration with Sir Peter and Mary, the project has developed through shared experiences and enjoyable stories. The evidence here confirms that. With its rich, evocative character and a unique work of art for a label, this particular bottle is testament to the joys of rewarding creativity.
 

The Experience

  • Colour

    Caramelised peach

  • Nose

    Classic antique oak, dried fruit and fig combined with hints of pineapple and mango layered with a decadent chocolate strawberry note

  • Palate

    Warm chocolate with light nutmeg and ginger, oak spices and sweet oak opening into pineapple and coconut with an unexpected strawberry and hazelnut burst

  • Finish

    Complex with a medium to long finish of chocolate, sweet oak and lightly spiced peach

  • ABV

    46.7%

Anecdotes of Ages Collection A New Era of Advertising Mood Shot of bottle neck

AN ARTISTIC PRESENTATION

The outer box for these special whiskies has been modelled on Sir Peter Blake’s own traditional art supply box, bringing together the world of art and whisky. A squirrel is laser etched on a removable panel, revealing a thumbnail photography collage documenting Sir Peter’s journey with The Macallan for the creation of this collection. 

On the side a sliding drawer features Sir Peter’s signature laser etched into the oak. Within is a leather bound book sustainably sourced in Scotland, revealing the 13 unique stories behind the full Anecdotes of Ages Collection.  

Sotheby’s Auction

The Macallan holds a deep appreciation for the time it takes to establish, nurture, and protect heritage as well as a desire to produce iconic creations and legendary pieces. 

On Saturday 13th March, “A New Era of Advertising,” one of the 13 original, one-of-a-kind bottles from The Macallan Anecdotes of Ages Collection was auctioned at Sotheby’s New York.

The proceeds from the auction will support the Guggenheim Museum's diversity, equity, access and inclusion initiatives with the objective to increase both free access and outreach to a variety of diverse audiences.

Find out More

Anecdotes of Ages

Paying Homage to the Past

Anecdotes of Ages

In Collaboration with Sir Peter Blake