The result of a unique collaboration between The Macallan distillery and renowned French crystal maker Lalique, The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection was released over a decade, between 2005 and 2016. An exclusive series of limited-edition decanters, each release represents the marriage and mastery of spirit distilling and artistic crystal craftsmanship. The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection celebrates the foundation stones upon which the distinctive character of The Macallan and the distillery’s creation of its rich spirit are built, including Exceptional Oak Casks and Curiously Small Stills. Every decanter in the collection is a flawless piece of crystal art encasing some of the rarest and oldest Macallan single malt whiskies in the world, ranging between fifty and sixty-five years old. The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection epitomises the luxury and collectable vintage whiskies released by Macallan, ensuring these limited-edition decanters are highly sought amongst collectors and investors, and will appreciate in value and collectability over the years as Macallan’s iconic reputation continually evolves.
The Partners — The Macallan Distillery: A Brief History
Located in Scotland’s Speyside region in close proximity to the river Spey, Macallan was first licenced to Alexander Reid in 1824 as the Elchies distillery. In 1868, James Stuart acquired the Elchies lease and rebuilt the distillery. James Stuart sold Elchies in 1892, to Roderick Kemp who recognised Elchies’ potential modernising the site and increasing malt production, alongside renaming the distillery as Macallan-Glenlivet (although the Glenlivet suffix would be dropped in 1980). Following Kemp’s death in 1909, the Roderick Kemp Trust was established to secure the family’s future ownership of Macallan, although the Trust was reformed as a private limited company in 1966.
In 1986, the Japanese brewery and distilling group Suntory purchased 25% of Macallan stocks. The remaining 75% of stocks would be purchased by Highland Distillers in 1996, a takeover which ended the Kemp family’s ownership of Macallan. A partnership between Edrington and William Grant & Sons, known as ‘The 1887 Company’, purchased Highland Distillers for £601 million in 1999. Edrington became the major stakeholder in Macallan, alongside minority shareholders William Grant & Sons and Suntory.
Since 1984, Macallan has opted to focus on the growing single malt market, when the first official Macallan single malt bottling, an 18-Year-Old expression matured in ex-sherry casks was launched. Edrington has continued to promote Macallan’s growth as a single malt brand, establishing the distillery’s commitment to using ex-sherry casks for maturation as Macallan’s unique selling point. Alongside the core single malt range Macallan regularly releases a variety of vintage expressions and limited editions attracting attention from whisky enthusiasts, collectors and investors.
The Partners — Lalique Crystal: A Brief History
Lalique boasts an unparalleled reputation and heritage for both artistic quality and innovative design, with the brand attaining worldwide recognition for the brilliance of its jewellery and crystal. René Lalique, the creative designer and founder of the Lalique brand, was born in 1860. Lalique became apprentice to jeweller Louis Aucoc, before progressing to work as an independent designer for jewellery brands including Jacta and Cartier. In 1885, René Lalique took over the jewellery workshop of Jules Destape on Place Gaillon in Paris. Between 1888–1890, Lalique began to experiment with creating jewellery which integrated glass and enamel, combined with gold and gemstones.
As Lalique’s innovative designs continued to gain recognition, perfumer François Coty approached René Lalique in 1907, requesting his design talents to create attractive and distinctive bottles for the perfume industry. From 1907 onwards, René Lalique would devote himself to industrial techniques of glass making, establishing himself as an Art Deco master glassmaker. In 1922, Lalique founded the Verrerie d’Alsace glassworks at Wingen-sur-Moder in Alsace, a region with a historic glass making tradition, creating a dedicated Lalique glassware factory. René Lalique passed away in 1945, with his son Marc Lalique taking over the business and further developing the production of crystal glassware. In 1977, Lalique’s grand-daughter Marie-Claude Lalique took control, reviving the company’s tradition of jewellery making while also developing a fragrance brand which was presented in Lalique’s distinctive glassware. The Lalique company was acquired by the Swiss-owned management group Art & Fragrance in 2008, which sought to develop Lalique globally and increase production capacity of the crystal glassworks. After 2016, Art & Fragrance was rebranded as the Lalique Group, ensuring the endurance and recognition of the Lalique brand globally.
The First Pillar — The Macallan in Lalique Exceptional Oak Casks 50-Years-Old
The Macallan in Lalique Exceptional Oak Casks, a 50-Years-Old expression (46% ABV), was the first Six Pillars Collection decanter, released in 2005. Celebrating the ‘Exceptional Oak Casks’ in which Macallan is matured, Lalique’s master craftsmen took inspiration from the cask wood, creating an Art Nouveau style decanter which features intricately etched details on the decanter sides and stopper recreating a wood grain effect, and representing Macallan’s mastery of wood. Only 470 individually numbered decanters were produced, and released in a leather presentation box containing the crystal stopper, and accompanied by a hand numbered booklet signed by Bob Delgarno (formerly The Macallan’s Master Whisky Maker) and Lalique Glass Master Jean-Claude Hertrich.
As the Exceptional Oak Casks are regarded as the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, and account for approximately 80% of the distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan they are a foundation stone of Macallan’s spirit and character. Macallan’s mastery of wood has led Macallan to became the first distillery to introduce a ‘bespoke’ cask regime, investing considerable time into sourcing, crafting and seasoning – it takes five years of craftsmanship to create each Macallan Exceptional Oak Cask.
Amongst Macallan enthusiasts, the Macallan in Lalique Exceptional Oak Casks limited-edition decanter has passed into legend, as rumours persist a large portion of the stock used to create the expression was substantially older than the 50-Year-Old age statement. Also overlooked, is the fact many of the first Macallan in Lalique decanters were opened and consumed, as early marketing did not reference the Six Pillars Collection. As a result, the true number of The Macallan in Lalique Exceptional Oak Casks 50-Years-Old decanters which remain is unknown, making it the rarest and most difficult of the Six Pillars Collection to now acquire.
The Second Pillar — The Macallan in Lalique Natural Colour 55-Years-Old
The second decanter, The Macallan in Lalique Natural Colour 55-Years-Old (40.1% ABV), was released in 2007. Lalique’s decanter design was inspired by René Lalique’s classic Paquerettes Tiara perfume bottle, originally created for perfumers Roger & Gallet in 1910, with only 420 individually numbered decanters produced. Each decanter features a copper neck collar, and were released in a leather presentation box containing the crystal stopper, and accompanied by a hand numbered booklet. Lalique crafted the decanter stoppers in amber coloured crystal, signifying Macallan’s commitment to 100% natural colour whisky, resulting from the interaction of Macallan’s new make spirit with seasoned oak casks. The Natural Colour decanter stoppers also embody Lalique’s mastery of crystal, as amber is one of the hardest colours for crystal makers to achieve.
The Third Pillar — The Macallan in Lalique Finest Cut 57-Years-Old
In 2009, The Macallan in Lalique Finest Cut 57-Years-Old (48.5% ABV) was released, originally with a retail price of $15,000 (USD). Only 400 individually numbered decanters were created, presented for release in a leather presentation case, complete with crystal stopper and hand numbered booklet. At the time of release, David Cox (Director of Fine & Rare Whiskies for The Macallan), clarified that The Macallan in Lalique 57-Years-Old was the second oldest Macallan whisky ever released. The Macallan in Lalique 57-Years-Old was created from a vatting of six casks, crafted from two different species of oak, including a 1950 American oak sherry butt and first fill European Spanish oak sherry butts laid to rest in 1949, 1951 and 1952. The Macallan in Lalique’s 57-Year-Old age statement was determined from the youngest cask, filled in 1952.
Inspired by the ‘Finest Cut’ – the fraction of new make spirit which is filled into casks for maturation – Lalique created an Art Deco style geometric decanter, reflecting Macallan’s dedication to using only the best cut from the distillery stills. At Macallan the ‘Finest Cut’ is a mere 16%, the heart taken from each slow distillation of new make spirit, to maximise flavour and produce the distinctive rich, fruity, linseed oil character of The Macallan. Highlighting Macallan’s use of the ‘Finest Cut’, Lalique’s decanter features a perfume bottle ‘stilligoutte’ – a long piece of pure crystal flowing down to a point from the base of the bottle stopper. A 16% portion of the ‘satinee’ finished stopper has been left completely clear, running from the conic top down to the point – representing Macallan’s Finest Cut.
The Fourth Pillar — The Macallan in Lalique Curiously Small Stills 60-Years-Old
Released in 2011, The Macallan in Lalique 60-Years-Old (53.2% ABV) pays homage to Macallan’s Curiously Small Stills which are used to make the spirit. Lalique produced 400 individually numbered decanters, which originally retailed for $20,000 (USD). The Curiously Small Stills are a foundation stone of Macallan’s individuality and whisky character. Macallan’s stills are small, less than 4 metres (13 feet) high with a capacity of only 3900 litres each. The compact size significantly contributes to Macallan’s malt style, as in small stills there is less contact between vapour and copper which results in the production of a heavier oily and rich spirit.
Lalique continued the Art Deco styling used in the previous Six Pillars Collection release, echoing the round kettle shape of Macallan’s small pot stills visibly at the sides of the decanter design. The stopper mimics the shape of the still handle, integrating copper taken from a retired Macallan still, whilst cabochon detailing is used to re-create the oval-shaped rivets around the still’s windows. The Macallan in Lalique Curiously Small Stills 60-Years-Old decanters and stoppers were presented in highly-polished black lacquer boxes, featuring engraved metal detailing designed to be reminiscent of a Macallan still window.
The Fifth Pillar — The Macallan in Lalique Spiritual Home 62-Years-Old
The penultimate Six Pillars Collection decanter, The Macallan in Lalique Spiritual Home 62-Years-Old (53.1% ABV) was released in 2014. Lalique produced 400 individually numbered decanters, containing at the time of release the second oldest Macallan whisky ever available, originally retailing for $25,000 (USD). The Macallan in Lalique 62-Years-Old was matured in American oak sherry seasoned casks originally filled and laid to rest in November 1950. The 62-Years-Old celebrates Macallan’s Spiritual Home - The Macallan Estate, which dates back to 1543, and spans 485 acres of Scottish countryside overlooking the River Spey. Barley production resumed at the Macallan Estate in 1998, growing Golden Promise barley traditionally used for Macallan’s distillation and producing nutty, oily, silky flavours in the spirit. Situated at the heart of the Macallan Estate is Easter Elchies House, a traditional Highland manor built by Captain John Grant in 1700.
Inspired by Easter Elchies House, Lalique designed an Art Nouveau style decanter featuring three frosted and textured sides representing the harled sandstone walls of the manor. The front of the decanter bears the initials of Captain John Grant, etched to mimic the datestone. Finally, the decanter bottle neck pays tribute to the crow-stepped gable leading up to the manor’s chimney. Each ‘Spiritual Home’ decanter was presented with stopper in a black lacquer case.
The Sixth Pillar — The Macallan in Lalique Peerless Spirit 65-Years-Old
Concluding over a decade of collaboration, The Macallan in Lalique Peerless Spirit 65-Years-Old (46.3% ABV) completed the Six Pillars Collection when released in 2016. One of the oldest and rarest whiskies released by Macallan, only 450 decanters were produced and originally retailed for $35,000 (USD). The Macallan in Lalique 65-Years-Old was matured in two ex-sherry casks filled in November 1950. In contrast with modern day Macallan, the 65-Years-Old expression is unusually peated – a result of the post-World War II coal shortages which necessitated malting using local peat.
Inspired by Lalique’s glass making heritage, Marc Larminaux (Creative Director for Lalique) designed a round, pinched-perfume decanter centred around a single peerless drop of The Macallan, symbolising the distillery’s precious spirit. Each ‘Peerless Spirit’ decanter was presented with stopper in a black lacquer case. At release, Macallan stated the 65-Years-Old expression represented a testament to the skill of each of the distillery’s craftsmen, and a unique celebration of Macallan’s unwavering commitment to sourcing, nurturing and maturing The Macallan single malt in exceptional oak casks. The Macallan’s commitment has ensured the distillery’s reputation for producing peerless spirit, and some of the most renowned whiskies in the world.
The Six Pillars Collection: A Legacy
As the Macallan distillery has attained an unparalleled and iconic reputation, the distillery’s vintage expressions and limited-edition whiskies have attracted considerable attention from whisky enthusiasts, collectors and investors commanding high prices on the secondary market and at auction. Amongst the oldest and rarest Macallan releases, aged between 50 and 65 years old, The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection decanters have become highly sought after both individually, and as complete collections. On Sunday 2nd April 2017, The Macallan in Lalique Legacy Collection sold for $993,000 (USD) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong. A complete set of the Six Pillars Collection crystal decanters, the Legacy Collection also contained six Macallan Fine and Rare miniatures and six pairs of Lalique Macallan glasses, all housed in a unique bespoke natural ebony cabinet created by Lalique Maison. On 24th October 2019, a second complete Macallan in Lalique Six Pillar Collection, with a French polished walnut cabinet commissioned by Sotheby’s, and created by British craftsman James Laycock, sold at Sotheby’s London for £550,000 ($704,662 USD).
The collaboration between Macallan and Lalique has endured beyond the completion of the Six Pillars Collection. Lalique has continued to create distinctive decanters for some of Macallan’s rarest vintage and limited-edition releases, including The Golden Age of Travel Series, The Macallan M Imperiale six litre decanters, and notably The Macallan in Lalique Genesis 72-Years-Old – previously the oldest ever Macallan single malt when released in 2018 – which celebrated the opening of the new Macallan distillery.
2019 On 24th October 2019, The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillar Collection, with a James Laycock French polished walnut cabinet sells at Sotheby’s London for £550,000 ($704,662 USD).
1700Captain John Grant builds Easter Elchies House, a traditional Highland manor, at the heart of the future Macallan Estate.
1824The Macallan distillery is licenced to Alexander Reid originally under the name Elchies Distillery.
1860Birth of René Lalique.
1868James Stuart acquires the lease and rebuilds the distillery.
1885Originally apprenticed as a jeweller, after gaining recognition as a designer Lalique takes over the jewellery workshop of Jules Destape on Place Gaillon in Paris.
1888–90René Lalique begins to experiment integrating glass and enamel into his designs, alongside precious metals and gemstones to embellish his jewelery.
1892James Stuart sells the distillery to Roderick Kemp from Elgin. Kemp renames it the Macallan-Glenlivet distillery and expands the site.
1907Lalique partners with perfumer François Coty to produce perfume bottles, leading Lalique to devote himself to industrial techniques of glass making becoming an Art Deco master glassmaker.
1909Roderick Kemp passes away and the Roderick Kemp Trust is established to secure the Kemp family’s future ownership of Macallan.
1910René Lalique designs the classic Paquerettes Tiara perfume bottle for perfumers Roger & Gallet.
1922Lalique founds the Verrerie d’Alsace glassworks at Wingen-sur-Moder in Alsace, a devoted Lalique glassware factory.
1945Death of René Lalique. Marc Lalique takes over further developing the production of crystal glassware.
1966The Roderick Kemp Trust is reformed as a private limited company.
1977Marie-Claude Lalique takes over the Lalique company, reviving the traditions of jewellery design and developing a fragrance brand which would be presented in the bottles designed and created by Lalique.
1986Japanese Group Suntory purchase 25% of Macallan-Glenlivet plc stocks.
1996Highland Distillers purchase the remaining 75% of Macallan-Glenlivet plc stocks.
1999Edrington and William Grant & Sons buys Highland Distillers for £601 million through, The 1887 Company. The remaining shares in Macallan continue to be held by Suntory.
2005The first of the Six Pillars Collection is released, Macallan in Lalique Exceptional Oak Casks 50-Years-Old (470 decanters).
2007The Macallan in Lalique Natural Colour 55-Years-Old (420 decanters) is released.
2008Art & Fragrance acquires Lalique. Known as Lalique Group after 2016.
2009The Macallan in Lalique Finest Cut 57-Years-Old (400 decanters) is released.
2011The Macallan in Lalique Curiously Small Stills 60-Years-Old (400 decanters) is released.
2014The Macallan in Lalique Spiritual Home 62-Years-Old (400 decanters) is released.
2016The final Six Pillars Collection bottling is released, The Macallan in Lalique Peerless Spirit 65-Years-Old (450 decanters).
2017On Sunday 2nd April 2017, The Macallan in Lalique Legacy Collection sells for $993,000 (USD) at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.
2019On 24th October 2019, The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillar Collection, with a James Laycock French polished walnut cabinet sells at Sotheby’s London for £550,000 ($704,662 USD).