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Legendary Albert Watson Captures the Stunning Voyage to the Heart of The Macallan
Photo: courtesy Albert Watson and The Macallan (2010).
LONDON.- The Macallan Masters of Photography: Albert Watson Edition continues the celebration of two very different but highly revered art processes, photography and whisky-making. From December 2010 two unique bottles of The Macallan - a 20 year old Sherry Oak and The Macallan 1946, paired with Watson’s portfolio and platinum prints, will be available to purchase around the world. To mark the launch, Watson’s photographic prints were unveiled at Phillips de Pury in London on 1 December, kicking off a global exhibition tour.

This is the first time the story of The Macallan’s exceptional oak casks and their romantic journey, beginning in the bewitching forests of Spain and ending at The Macallan’s spiritual home in Scotland, has been visually documented.

This unique collaboration with Albert Watson, winner of the prestigious Royal Photographic Society’s 2010 Centenary Medal, involves a bottle of The Macallan 20 year old sherry oak with a hand-signed portfolio and The Macallan’s exceptional 1946 whisky with a one off platinum print. The partnership began when Watson was invited by The Macallan to weave a visual narrative of the long journey made from acorn to glass to eventually produce a rich and complex Single Malt.

To create his black and white photographic series, Watson embarked upon a journey of 12 days covering 600 miles and encountered some of the most breathtaking scenery. From the entrancing forests of Northern Spain, where the mighty Spanish oaks grow, to the traditional cooperage in Jerez, Watson began a journey of discovery, culminating in the alchemy and passion of The Macallan Distillery in Scotland. The photographic odyssey took place in 3 parts, the romantic tale of a couple’s road trip, a series of images expanding on this particular journey and finally the creation of fine art platinum prints.

Hand printed by one of the world’s leading fine art printers, platinum prints when compared to black and white silver prints, exhibit an expanded tonal range, three-dimensionality, and a uniquely luminous quality. They are also among the most permanent objects produced by man. The platinum metals are more stable than gold, and a platinum image, properly preserved, can last thousands of years.

The outcome is a stunning anthology which captures the genuine emotional connection between the photographer and his subjects: the striking landscapes, beautiful settings and the spectacular weather patterns. Watson’s photographic prints exude an air of drama and romance, trailing a stylish couple taking a voyage to unearth the key secret behind The Macallan. These are coupled with intimate shots of the time served master craftsmen of the cooperage and dramatic stills of the surrounding wilderness.

The exceptional oak casks are at the heart of The Macallan’s fame, providing 60% of the distinctive flavour of The Macallan. They are the leading users of these sherry seasoned oak casks which are the most expensive and highly prized in the Scotch whisky industry. The casks are made from the rich timber grown in the forests of Northern Spain which are then hand-crafted at the cooperage in Jerez, before being seasoned with dry Oloroso sherry and shipped to Scotland to be filled with new make spirit at the Macallan Distillery on Speyside.

From 1 December 2010, the limited collection of 1,000 unique The Macallan Sherry Oak 20 year old bottles will be available for purchase throughout the world, each labelled with a specially commissioned label by Watson and a set of 10 portfolio prints unique to this edition. They can be purchased at luxury spirits retailers. A further 36 individually customised bottles of The Macallan 1946 whisky, the date Watson first met his wife Elizabeth, with a signed one-off collectible platinum print can also be purchased, once they have completed their world exhibition tour, with a reserve price of £10,000. To register interest visit The Macallan website: www.themacallan.com

To celebrate the launch of the second Macallan Masters of Photography, The Macallan will be inviting the public to participate in the first Macallan Masterclass. Photography and whisky fans alike will be able to upload their finest photographs that celebrate the theme “great journeys”, inspired by Albert Watson’s experience. The top ten photographs shortlisted by the public will then be judged by Albert Watson. Prizes range from a trip of a lifetime to Scotland to a digital camera and a subscription to a specialist magazine.

“The Macallan came to me with the incredible story of the sherry oak casks from Spain and how they are used to make their Single Malt whisky and asked me to think of how I could interpret this as a photographic art project. The freedom and encouragement given to me during this shoot allowed the creation of a series of images expanding on this journey and finally platinum exhibition prints – the ultimate in fine art – demanding complete artistic integrity.” - Albert Watson

“This project shows further development of the highly successful Masters of Photography franchise and brings us together with one of the greatest photographers of our time.

Albert Watson is an inspiration and a complete joy to work with. His extraordinary eye for creating truly great photography and his unparalleled skills in the art of lighting, combine with a peerless appreciation of what it takes to make the highest quality of fine art prints. We are delighted that he has delivered an outstanding collection of images for The Macallan.” - Ken Grier, Director of Malts, The Edrington Group

Albert Watson | The Macallan Masters of Photography | London |


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