Since 2021, Bentley Motors has partnered with The Macallan on a whole slew of projects, for instance, their ongoing partnership at Pebble Beach Car Week, as well as joint collaborations like the forthcoming ‘Horizon’ with its stunning bottle jointly developed between design teams from Bentley and The Macallan and filled with a single malt that I am sure smells like the leather interior of the new Flying Spur Speed Edition and tastes like desire.
The brand’s partnership makes sense when you think about it, and think about it I did, when I had a chance to sample everything from their entry-level Sherry Oak 12 Year (perfect in a Whisky Sour), the Double Cask 15 year and 18 Year and the highlight, a rare vintage 17 year Fine Oak, at a recent tasting at The Cigar and Whiskey Bar at the Maybourne Hotel in Beverly Hills with The Macallan’s Brand Ambassador, Stephanie Forbes. A side note, the Maybourne Hotel has quietly built one of the best cocktail programs in Los Angeles under their affable Head Mixologist, Chris Amirault, a subject for a future column.
I also recently had a chance to sample the brand’s new global travel exclusive Colour Collection, which is crafted predominantly from sherry American oak casks with a subtle touch of European oak to add flavor and color and comes in 12, 15, 18, 21, and 30-year-old expressions. The highlight though is the bottle’s packaging and the new label designed by the seminal David Carson, who first found fame via his way-out work for Ray Gun magazine in the 90s, who described to me in detail the intricacies of the design work and told me he wished his dad was still around to see his work with The Macallan, which made for a tender moment as we quietly sipped our Drams of the 18 year.
After the tough assignment of immersing myself in the Bentley and The Macallan brands, I had a chance to ask Jaume Ferras, Global Creative Director for The Macallan, a few questions on what makes the partnership between these two powerhouse heritage companies so special and what to expect in the future.
Jon Alain Guzik: My feature is on taste and how some objects seem more tasteful than others. With Bentley, it’s about the tastefulness of their cars, in relation to the partnership, how did two classic heritage brands with a long history of exuding good taste join in a partnership and what does the partnership mean?
Jaume Ferras: Our global partnership with Bentley Motors was founded on the similarities in our rich histories as well as our shared principles of mastery, craftsmanship, creativity, and innovation. While this partnership acknowledges the origins and rich heritage of both brands, our primary focus is on jointly embracing innovation, creating immersive experiences, and crafting compelling narratives for the future. Collectively, our aim is to share knowledge and expertise from our distinct industries, all the while maintaining an unwavering dedication to excellence that permeates every aspect of our work. Through the fusion of Bentley Motors’ proficiency in crafting luxury automobiles and The Macallan’s mastery of whisky production, this partnership will result in innovative products and immersive experiences that epitomize enduring luxury, harmonized with a dedication to a more forward-thinking world.
JAG: When I interviewed Christophe Georges from Bentley about why their vehicles seemed so tasteful, he said, “When asked about taste, the first I think about are emotions, because everything is related to emotions. It is touching all your senses and the feeling it creates within you. It starts with the design and the beauty of the object. It is about touching all your senses.” From the bottle design to what is inside the bottle, how does this relate to The Macallan and the brand’s thoughts on the taste of their products?
JF: Beauty is intrinsic to The Macallan. It is at the core of our brand, rooted in the exquisite landscape of The Macallan Estate. For me, one of the greatest attractions of working with Bentley Motors is its very different approach to beauty, and how that will encourage The Macallan to be creative in new ways. At The Macallan, we pride ourselves on the outstanding quality of our products and on curating a sensory and emotional journey for our consumers. Since the inception of the brand’s rich spirit, we’ve established a robust set of guiding principles known as the Six Pillars (Spiritual Home, Curiously Small Stills, Finest Cut, Exceptional Oak Casks, Natural Color, and Peerless Spirit) that have illuminated the path to create our unique and exceptional whiskies.
Among these pillars, our exceptional oak casks stand as the single most significant contributor to the remarkable quality, natural hues, and distinct aromas and flavors that define The Macallan. These oak casks, responsible for up to 80% of the final sensory experience, are the cornerstone of our craftsmanship. The signature taste of The Macallan is a testament to our unwavering dedication to excellence. It is a harmonious symphony of flavors, carefully crafted over years of meticulous aging in exceptional oak casks. The resulting full-bodied notes of dried fruits, oak, and spices offer a captivating journey for your senses. Each sip is a profound exploration, revealing the intricate layers that shape the character of our whisky. Despite our very different industries, The Macallan and Bentley Motors are both makers. Our focus is on crafting beautiful, high-quality products that our customers will enjoy and appreciate. By bringing our masters together to share their expertise, we have an extraordinary opportunity to be more inventive and create something truly unique.
JAG: What makes “The Horizon” so important for the two brands?
JF: At The Macallan, we are experienced whisky-makers whose time and dedication are focused on crafting an exceptional single malt that can be enjoyed by consumers all around the world. The team at Bentley Motors, on the other hand, are first and foremost designers, they operate in a material world where engineering meets art to create something beautiful. This was a truly collaborative process, where masters from each side became fully immersed in each other’s worlds. This experience inspired a unique concept that challenges the traditional vertical design of a whisky bottle and instead mirrors the horizontal trajectory of the automotive industry: The Macallan Horizon. A beautifully designed product with innovation at its heart, The Macallan Horizon pushes the boundaries and the art of the possible. From the recycled copper from the disused curiously small spirit stills which were located in The Macallan’s former Distillery to the aluminum recovered from the Bentley Motors’ manufacturing process. The materials were carefully selected to bring together this sense of past and future, with each representing a central piece of The Macallan and Bentley Motors’ story.
The final product stands as a testament to the legacies of both The Macallan and Bentley Motors, symbolizing our unwavering pursuit of excellence and heralding the dawn of an exciting new era of innovation.
Jon Alain Guzik is a seasoned journalist, serial entrepreneur, and lifestyle columnist for Monarch Wine. With extensive expertise in luxury, lifestyle, automotive, and timepiece markets, his writing has been featured in publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, The Los Angeles Times, TheDrive, Automobile Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, and LeoEdit. He lives in Laurel Canyon with his wife, two kids, and a rambunctious goldendoodle named Rosie. Although he adores White Burgundy, his family, oddly, doesn't share the same enthusiasm.