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The Red Collection:

A Study in Red

E600CA23-A5CF-4F30-BC0F-7E8B830451E0@2x июн 03 2021 · 5 -минутная

A Multifaceted Colour

It is no coincidence that we have chosen to name our oldest collection of whiskies to date “The Red Collection”. This colour has deep and long-standing significance for The Macallan, and has found expression in our processes, and through key people in our history as a symbol of our continual pursuit of perfection. 

A Dream of Old

Journeying through The Red Collection

Celebrated Spanish painter and illustrator Javi Aznarez created a story of three key moments in the history of The Macallan, observed from the present time, as the inspiration to the Red Collection.


From the Source

We use two types of oak in our casks, sourced from two continents: America and Europe. The term oak is ‘Quercus Robur’ in Latin (hence the Spanish word for oak, “rob-le”). Robur means “strong”, or robust, and it has an Indo-European root: “reudh-“, which was used to refer to striking red hues. The colour red finds its roots in our wood.

Sherry wine is used to season our oak casks before they are filled with our new make spirit. Red is a prominent colour in the colour palette of sherry, and finds further expression in a spectrum of hues through the 100% natural colour of our single malt whiskies.

About The Colour Red

The colour red holds many connotations, implications and associations. It is related to a myriad of  feelings and emotions from joy to passion and courage. Different countries signify it with particular events or traditions, such as marriage in India or a lucky new year in Asia.

Red Facts


Red is a primary colour.


It has the longest wavelength.


Red is the first observable colour by human beings.


The history of languages reveals that red is the first colour after black and white, which are hues, more than colours.

Red is in Our Roots

The Macallan has been shaped by key figures in our history, from our founder Alexander Reid in 1824 through to Allan Shiach in the 1980s. These characters contain three stories from different times, and they had different ambitions. However, they shared one common attitude that is expressed through and captures the colour red: our deep respect for tradition and craftsmanship.

The Macallan Illustration of Reid Red Collection
Red is Good

Alexander Reid

Red is good, and it has been in our nature since Alexander Reid distilled the first drop of The Macallan on the Easter Elchies Estate. A man of talent and vision, as much as a teacher and farmer, he realised the importance of using quality ingredients, turning the barley that was his life, into a whisky he could be proud of.

Reid is a surname of Scottish origin, meaning “red”. This surname is derived from a nickname, 'the Red,' a nickname usually given on account of a person’s ruddy face or the sanguine red complexion of their hair. Our founder, Alexander Reid carried this colour with him in his name from the very beginning of The Macallan.
Red is Better

Roderick Kemp

Proprietor of The Macallan from 1892 to 1909, it would be easy to imagine Victorian gentleman Roderick Kemp in a world of black and white, of thick fog and grey coats. But there was fire in his soul. Red is better since he noticed the warmth of the sun in the scent of sherry, a hint of acorns shining in the wood, and he was inspired to brand his ‘Choice Old Whisky’ in bold, red letters.

He was a shrewd businessman and a wine connoisseur. With a focus on excellence, Kemp dared to take The Macallan further than any of his predecessors, and used the colour red to indicate the distinction of a superior product.


An order for M. Ferguson in Calcutta, dated 25th October 1900, lists 31 cases – 62 gallons Macallan at 4/9 per gallon (Black labels) and 17 cases-34 gallons Choice Old Macallan at 5/7 per gallon (Red labels). We see an early distinction between ‘Macallan’ and ‘Choice Old Macallan’, the latter being of a greater, though indeterminate age, and thus of greater value

The Macallan Archival Records
Red is Best

Allan Shiach

Honouring tradition and heritage is essential, but we should not lose sight of the future, and Allan Shiach has always been keenly aware of that. He was a man with a long-term vision, who challenged conventional approaches and embraced new perspectives while holding onto the values of the past.

A bright and creative mind—still today he works as a script-writer—during his tenure in the 1980s, Shiach took maturation and ageing to a whole new level with his release of 40 and 50 years old whiskies. Some of his rare bottles can be identified today by his signature red ribbon and seal.

Under the management of Allan Shiach, in October 1980, Macallan introduced three rare ‘vintage’ whiskies, dated 1938, 1940 and 1950, presented in special wooden boxes, with a red ribbon around the front label. The boxes were made by Mr Wilson, an undertaker and joiner in nearby Archies town. UK and overseas agents received an allocation, with their names printed on the label.

The Macallan Archival Records

The Colour Red is in our Spirit

The Red Collection is all about time, nature and tradition, celebrating the rich range of reds present naturally in The Macallan—in every step of the process. From the amber fields of barley to the warm copper of our heated stills, from the fire roaring against oak, to the ruby sheen in every glass.


The Red Collection

The Red Collection

In Collaboration with Javi Aznarez


The Red Collection: A Dream of Old