The Macallan collaborates with world renowned photographer and artist Erik Madigan Heck to capture the Double Cask collection’s sensorial experience.
By now, The Macallan’s iconic Double Cask range needs no introduction. Produced using the distillery’s Curiously Small Copper Stills, the Double Cask collection of whiskies is an amalgamation of European and American oak sherry seasoned casks. Just like the extraordinary union of ingredients that brought the range to life, The Macallan and Erik Madigan Heck have come together for a project that’s as brilliant.
American photographer and artist Erik Madigan Heck — described as “a painter who uses photography” — and The Macallan have come together to elevate the multi-faceted characteristics of the Double Cask whiskies. The collaboration sees the iconic collection come to life via the immersive perspective of the creative mastermind. Meet Double Cask by Erik Madigan Heck as portrayed through the powerful medium of 17th century Flemish-inspired photography.
The images by Heck, rich and full-bodied, mirror the flavour notes of The Macallan’s Double Cask whiskies. Comprising the harmonious 12 Years Old, well-balanced 15 Years Old, distinctive 18 Years Old and the one-of-a-kind 30 Years Old, the Double Cask range is now seen in an all-new lens. Colours, texture and props all played their respective parts as Heck showed his acclaimed prowess.
The results? An ensemble of multi-dimensional and engaging photos that highlight not just the myriad of facets that the bottles possess — but also the exceptional notes of the Double Cask whiskies. There’s truly nothing like it, which once again, is a nod to The Macallan’s expertise in bringing together quality components. Be it with ingredients to produce its whiskies or with people to further showcase the products in different ways.
A whisky adventure of senses
All four icons in the Double Cask range are featured in the collection. Let’s begin with the Double Cask 12 Years Old (40% ABV). Known for its sweet oak and vanilla notes, the harmonious whisky is among the collection’s most popular. Utilising a two-tone purple chiffon fabric, Erik Madigan Heck illustrated the coming together of both sherry seasoned European and American oak casks. In addition, you can also spot the inclusion of fudge and lemon — two very integral elements of the whisky.
As for the Double Cask 15 Years Old (43% ABV), apples — green and red — take centre stage with Heck’s still life photography. The golden and regal tinge of the whisky as well as notes of sweet spice and smooth butterscotch are depicted too. An opulent brown fabric alludes to the chocolate profile that you can find in the whisky. Like its well-balanced blend, Heck has created an image that exudes a subtle hint of symmetry. It’s definitely a painting we can stare at and admire in the museum for hours and hours on end.
Next on the journey of senses is the very distinctive Double Cask 18 Years Old (43% ABV). Immediately, the plush gold velvet is noticeable — a tribute to the whisky’s lingering, warm finish. In fact, the golden prop also pays homage to the nutmeg, dried fruits, sweet ginger, and treacle toffee notes that can be experienced with every sip of the 18 Years Old. It’s a testament to The Macallan’s almost 200 years of outstanding excellence.
Last but definitely not least, there’s the Double Cask 30 Years Old (43% ABV). “Double Cask 30 Years Old is a charming combination of cinder toffee, honeycomb, vanilla and red apples – and I wanted to depict the vibrant tones and varying textures of these luscious flavours in the image, reminiscent of the great Flemish still life paintings from the 17th century,” said Erik Madigan Heck. The photo shows a matrimony of blue and green as they highlight the complex and nuanced layers of the special whisky.
The Macallan Estate in abstract photographs
The collaboration between The Macallan and Erik Madigan Heck is all about illustrating the single malt distillery’s DNA. That includes Craftsmanship, Creativity, Artistry, Legacy and Nature. To do that, Heck also spent some time at The Macallan Estate in Speyside, Scotland. Using digital post-production alongside in-camera effects and natural light, Heck captured the most important components of The Macallan and presented them as abstract photographs.
Three spectacular photographs each displayed the very essence of The Macallan — the estate itself, wood and the sensorial journey. For the image of The Macallan Estate, Heck went to the duck pond situated in the Estate. Using his artistic and visionary skills, he encapsulated the natural complexion, aroma and flavour of The Macallan Double Cask by reflecting the important ecosystem of the River Spey area.
As mentioned, wood is truly important to whisky-making — especially for The Macallan. After all, wood is what’s needed to make oak casks. That includes completely influencing the natural colour of the single malt whiskies as well as some of the whiskies’ flavours (about 80%). European and American oak are portrayed in the form of red and blue elements by Heck; showing the balance that both oak casks bring to The Macallan.
To ingeniously epitomised the sensorial journey that The Macallan is known for around the world, Heck ventured into the distillery’s barley fields. Through the usage of alluring smoke and vivid hues, the photographer then succeeded in bringing to life the full-bodied, fruity and rich facets of The Macallan single malt whiskies.
Learn more about The Macallan Double Cask range HERE.
(All photos by Erik Madigan Heck for The Macallan)