The Macallan collaborates with British Pop Artist Sir Peter Blake

Published February 17, 2022, 9:03 AM

by Joe Priela

The ‘Anecdotes of Ages Collection’ marries unique art and whiskey

Pop artist, Sir Peter Blake

An extraordinary art and whiskey collaboration unveil the “Anecdotes of Ages Collection.” Blending with British pop artist Sir Peter Blake, this is The Macallan’s third with the iconic artist. A relationship that has spanned more than three decades, the latest marriage of the whiskey and art celebrates the distillery’s rich legacy and the pop artist’s remarkable contribution to the art world.

Founded in 1824, The Macallan is renowned worldwide for its extraordinary single malt whiskey. Its outstanding quality and distinctive character reveal the uncompromised excellence pursued by The Macallan since it was established by Alexander Reid, on a plateau above the River Spey in north-east Scotland. On the same note, Blake is a British painter, sculptor, draughtsman, and printmaker. He is known as one of the leading figures of British Pop art. Blake began to appropriate pop culture icons and advertising imagery to create homages to the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Elvis Presley, and a number of professional wrestlers. In 1967 he designed the iconic album cover for The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band.”

At the heart of the esteemed collection are 13 one-of-a-kind bottles of exceptional 1967 whiskey. Classic yet with a distinctly colorful character, this peerless single malt Scotch has been matured for more than 50 years and was carefully selected to represent the year that Blake’s signature collages gained a more popular following. Each individual bottle features its own original Blake collage art on the label, detailing unique bits of The Macallan’s history, community, and the beautiful natural landscape of The Macallan Estate.

The long-held relationship between The Macallan and Blake is based on a mutual respect for craftsmanship as well as a strong desire to deliver truly creative and visionary work. In their first collaboration in 1986, the British artist created a bespoke label for The Macallan 1926, taking inspiration from the events of the era. In 2012, the two again worked together to create a unique, limited edition art piece in celebration of Blake’s 80th birthday and decades of collaborating with The Macallan.

Sir Peter Blake shares, “I am deeply inspired by the incredible legacy of The Macallan, and its emphasis on family, tradition, and the natural world. Each collage in the Anecdotes of Ages Collection is inspired by The Macallan’s history and heritage, one that respects time and craft, two essential components of my own creative process. I meticulously worked on each collage, pulling from The Macallan Estate’s rich history to complete a collection that is a celebration of art and whiskey.”

The Macallan’s Anecdotes of Ages Collection featuring labels designed by Sir Peter Blake

As part of The Macallan’s strong support for the arts, one of the 13 extremely rare bottles of the “Anecdotes of Ages” collection was auctioned by Sotheby’s to raise funds for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Support from The Macallan will advance efforts underway at the Guggenheim to increase free access and develop engagement with a variety of audiences, in alignment with the museum’s diversity, equity, accessibility, and initiatives that promote inclusivity.

“This exceptional 1967 whisky was chosen for its classic yet distinctively colorful character, which is reminiscent of Sir Peter Blake’s work of the same year,” says Sarah Burgess, lead whiskey maker at The Macallan. “With notes of oak and fig leading to a burst of hazelnut and strawberry, this is a truly special single malt that finishes with complex flavors of chocolate and lightly spiced peach. It is in many ways, its own work of art.”

Each of the 13 original bottles is hand-blown with an oak stopper and features a label signed by Sir Peter Blake. Presented in a handcrafted European oak case incorporating thumbnail photography revealing Blake’s inspirational journey with The Macallan, the expressions are also accompanied by a leather-bound book showcasing all of the 13 artworks for the labels and their corresponding stories, as well as certificates of authenticity.

While the 13th original bottle will be retained in The Macallan archive, a highly limited edition bottle featuring a duplicate label and the same rare 1967 whisky will be released as The Anecdotes of Ages Collection: Down to Work Limited Edition. Only 322 bottles will be available worldwide.

This exquisite and incredibly rare Anecdotes of Ages Collection is a sure catch for those with a taste for fine whiskey and an appreciation for pop art.