The decision by The Macallan, of Highland single-malt-whisky fame, to team up with the legendary crystal house Lalique was an inspired one. Their collaboration began eight years ago, when The Six Pillars of The Macallan was launched. The limited-release collection, a celebration of the unique elements that combine to give a single-malt whisky its distinctive character, attracted the attention of connoisseurs and collectors from the first, and has sold out globally so far. The Macallan is now to launch the fifth and penultimate Pillar, The Spiritual Home – a rare 62-year-old single malt.
As with the previous Pillars in the series, Lalique has been invited to design and create an edition of 400 individually numbered decanters to mark the occasion. This time it has taken inspiration from Easter Elchies House, a manor house at the heart of The Macallan 390-acre distillery estate in Scotland and the “spiritual home” to which the title alludes. Lalique has interpreted the sandstone walls of the house through a frosted and textured surface on three sides of the decanter. In the signature art-nouveau style of Lalique, one of these is embellished with the letters JEG – the initials of Captain John Grant, who oversaw the building of Easter Elchies House back in 1700. The gable ends are reimagined through the steps on the neck of the decanter, while the stopper takes its form from one of the manor’s chimneys.
Of course, aficionados may well be more concerned with what is inside the decanter, no matter how beautiful the crystal might be. For those who appreciate the rich tones of a single malt, The Macallan advises buyers to be prepared for a treacley opener that then uncovers “raisin and blood orange and, deeper still, aromas of apple, sprinkled with ginger, cinnamon and chocolate”.
For non-whisky enthusiasts, all this razzamatazz for a “wee dram” may seem OTT, but it is worth noting that the wholly unique Cire Perdue decanter by Lalique, containing the oldest Macallan single malt ever released (64 years old) raised a staggering $460,000 for charity when it was auctioned by Sotheby’s New York in 2010. At £16,000, The Spiritual Home decanter seems almost a snip by comparison.