Speyside distillery The Macallan has launched a new limited release bottle in reference to the water source of the single malt whisky producer, the River Spey.

The river, which flows through the Macallan Estate in Moray, was seen by the brand as a good example of showcasing the distillery’s heritage in the latest release, which forms part of its Home Collection of limited releases.

In collaboration with photo-realist pastel artist Michelle Lucking, the 44.8% ABV single malt whisky is presented in a unique pack which features a watercolour painting that captures the River Spey during the winter months.

Lucking used natural pigmented pastels to create a suite of six original paintings of the River Spey, bringing the water to life with an intensity and realism that aimed to capture the light and movement of the river.

The producer claimed the natural colours of The Macallan single malt whisky and those of the River Spey and surrounding landscape “share a common language, a synergy that has been beautifully captured by Michelle’s work”, it said.

The limited release is the colour of raw umber, the distillery said, which is a natural pigment used by artists to illustrate depth and detail in nature. Flavour notes include hints of raisins, treacle sponge and fruit, with sultana, butterscotch and chocolate on the palate giving way to a medium finish with toasted oak spice.

In addition, the distillery said it had been a “proud custodian” of its 1.5 mile stretch within its estate, since The Macallan was established by Alexander Reid almost 200 years ago.

Home Collection

The Home Collection was originally launched in June 2022 at the distillery with the aim to celebrate The Macallan’s origins.

Steven Bremner, whisky maker at The Macallan, said the latest release was stored in a combination of European oak sherry seasoned casks, American oak sherry seasoned casks and refill casks, and “embodies the dedication to incomparable craftsmanship and creativity, which The Macallan is renowned for”.

He said: “The Macallan Home Collection, River Spey brings together our time-honoured traditions and our continual inspiration from the nature that runs through The Macallan Estate and offers our community – at home and around the world – a unique insight into what makes our whiskies so exceptional through different aspects of our home.”

Deep connection

Artist Michelle Lucking said water was “a constant source of inspiration” for her.

She said: “I love exploring it, painting it – and so when The Macallan asked me to capture the majestic River Spey – and its importance to them, their whisky and the Estate – as part of the Home Collection it just felt to me like a really brilliant fit.

“The Macallan Home Collection, River Spey is all about a deep connection to nature – The Macallan wanted me to capture the majestic River Spey and its importance to them, the Estate and the whisky. I wanted to convey the importance not just of the river itself, but all its elements, the pebbles, the amazing autumnal colours in the surrounding landscape – from the soft yellows and ambers to the burnt umbers and deep treacle tones – hues that I had seen reflected in the natural colour of the whiskies.

“Creating something of beauty, it takes patience. I like to recreate all that fine detail with natural pigmented pastels. Layering and layering creating all the different blends of colour, getting finer and finer so you end up with this incredible fine detail and that’s something you can never rush. A lot like creating whiskies here at The Macallan – it takes time.”

This limited edition can be bought at the estate shop, in travel retail outlets and online for £240.