The Macallan’s Latest Masters of Photography Series

CAPTURING TIME. The Macallan partners up with world-renowned photographer Steven Klein for a special edition whisky unlike any other. Joezer Mandagi reports from Hong Kong

Time is an essential part of the creation of whisky. That’s why, for instance, when you treat yourself to a bottle of The Macallan 12 years old, you know you can expect a mature and rich flavor. And when you move on to The Macallan 18 years old, you will enjoy an even deeper experience.

Yet, time in the world of fine whiskies can also refer to something more poetic: The moment you take a sip of a newly opened scotch whisky, inhale its bouquet and taste the initial opening notes. These mere seconds can easily stretch into an infinity as you savor the distilled beauty contained in those precious drops.

Today, there exists an extraordinary interpretation of this notion of time, in the form of The Macallan’s Masters of photography: Steven Klein edition. This is actually the sixth of The Macallan’s award-winning Masters of photography series, following previous editions featuring the works of Rankin, Albert Watson, Annie Leibovitz, Elliott Erwitt and Mario Testino. The launch event for this new special edition whisky was held all across the globe, and DA MAN attended one such launch party at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Ken Grier introducing the Masters of Photography: Steven Klein Edition

Smoke and Mirrors

Walking past the reception area towards the party floor, guests had to walk past what can only be described as live art installations that gave us our first glimpse of Steven Klein’s visual style. The first room was dark, and contained four body-length mirrors. Crafty lighting setups turned the mirrors transparent for several short seconds, revealing models posing behind. One moment you could be looking into your own reflection, and in an instant you see the eyes of a total stranger looking back at you.

The experience was unnerving yet at the same time amusing and exhilarating. Following the room of mirrors was a smaller chamber featuring stone tubes with water trickling down. And beyond that, behind a curtain of smoke, the main hall beckoned. Bathed in an eerie red light, the venue felt vibrant and edgy—which was par for the course for just about everything connected to Steven Klein. And, of course, free-flowing cocktails featuring The Macallan whisky kept the mood mellow and the atmosphere festive.

“Only a thousand boxes have been made available, ensuring its exclusivity and high demand among whisky connoisseurs, photography enthusiasts or both”

As the party continued well into the night, The Macallan’s creative director Ken Grier took to the stage to present the star of the show, the Masters of photography: Steven Klein edition.

Models strut their stuff at the party

Sixth Time’s a Charm

One of the main elements of the newly-launched Steven Klein edition is a series of images by the famed photographer that offer a unique perspective of The Macallan lifestyle. A selection of 10 images set in a bar scene portray single moments in time that has been slowed, stretched and distilled. A short video was also produced and can be viewed at The scene portrayed in this video and the aforementioned imagery, by the way, is an old-school speakeasy stylized in Klein’s distinctive retro-industrial style. Notably, there’s a telltale pinkish tone that also hints at the rioja-seasoned casks used by The Macallan.

The actual Masters of photography: Steven Klein edition comes in a solid wooden box containing a signed copy of one of the 10 aforementioned photos, a limited edition whisky bottle, an exclusive bottle stopper along with a cocktail making kit inspired by culinary legends the Roca brothers. Only a thousand boxes have been made available, ensuring its exclusivity and high demand among whisky connoisseurs, photography enthusiasts or both.

A red-tinted celebration

The limited edition whisky contained in the Masters of photography: Steven Klein edition itself already makes it a most sought-after item. This special single-malt Scotch whisky incorporates peated whiskies from around 1942 to 1950 which gives the whisky a unique smoky aroma. Meanwhile, a hint of berries and dried fruit create the opening notes, followed by the smell of orange. Taste-wise, there is a pleasant combination of smoky and spicy sweetness, along with dark chocolate and orange zest.

There is, of course, no “correct” way to experience the Masters of photography: Steven Klein edition. Indeed, some lucky enough to obtain a box may never open it. Still, if you do count yourself among those fortunate few, here are some pointers from Grier: “The first thing I’d do is buy a couple of other bottles,” Grier begins. “Buy a bottle of The Macallan 12 year old, and I would start by really trying to understand that. What I would then do is buy a bottle of The Macallan rare cask, take the cocktail equipment out of the kit and actually use it.” Finally, he adds: “and then I would take the bottle out and I’d probably take five years to drink that.”

Special The Macallan based cocktail