It seems blue isn’t the only color of the year. At least, not for Macallan. The Edition No. 5 is decked out in a newly created color.
In the middle of the El Nido Villa at Okada in Manila, everyone is waiting for the whisky glasses to be handed out. Tonight will be Manila’s first taste of the Macallan Edition No. 5: a new, limited-edition whisky coming out of the brand’s estate in Scotland.
It’s become something of a tradition for them to come up with a limited-edition bottle each year. And this time, on its fifth such expression, Macallan has done something quite special.
Collaborating with the Pantone Color Institute—the organization that standardized the color-matching system used in designs—Macallan has come up with a completely new shade of purple. The new color has been designated MAC001, and is meant to highlight the natural colors that have been used in creating the Macallan Edition No. 5.
Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute, puts it this way: “As the rainbow’s most complex colour, purple naturally felt like the ideal shade to highlight the equally complex process involved in The Macallan’s whisky making. This new vibrant shade developed for Edition No. 5, brings to life the exquisite combination of distinctive natural hues found in this whisky.”
Since 1824, Macallan has used the natural colors of the aging process in its whiskies—hues that are created by letting the distilled spirits sit in oak barrels for years.
And for the Macallan Edition No. 5, this comes to a sunlit barley color, which plays off of the newly minted purple used in the labels and packaging.
Only American oak barrels have been used for this edition, and all but one of them are on their first fill. What this means is that the wood brings out deeper, more distinct flavors in the whisky.
Philippine Brand Advocate Hans Eckstein likens it to tea leaves. The first time you use them, you get a stronger taste, and each subsequent use will draw out less and less from the leaves.
We get to understand it more as we walk through the villa in Okada, which has been set up with several rooms, each one containing the process with which the Macallan Edition No. 5 has been created. There’s a room dedicated to the mixing of colors that make up the Pantone MAC001, another for the spirits that go into the bottle, and another one that helps explain the aging process.
So, given all of this—the colors, the barrels, the packaging—what does the No. 5 actually taste like? That’s what really counts, anyway.
Well, it’s got a bit of caramel and vanilla in it, owing to the use of American oak. The sweet bits linger in the mouth at the end, and this being a Macallan, it goes down quite smoothly.
These limited edition bottles have become quite collectible, and are carving a niche in the whisky space. The Edition No. 1, in particular, has since skyrocketed in price from its release five years ago, and is now reaching upwards of USD 2000 per bottle.
Whether or not that’s likely to happen to Edition No. 5 remains to be seen. But if you’re in the market for a sweet scotch (with its own Pantone color to match), then this one might deserve a space on the shelf.
Aurelio Icasiano III has been in media for 14 years: as a television producer and writer, travel correspondent, book editor, and as editor of an internationally-awarded men’s lifestyle magazine. He runs an electrical construction company by day but spends all too much time thinking about the next story.