The Macallan Red Collection features six single malts, all with very high age-statements, with one of the whiskies being 78 years old. And, whilst we have come to expect nothing short of luxury from Macallan, this collection is truly unprecedented, and has successfully piqued the attention of whisky fans around the globe.
The six bottles that make up the Red collection (and their original retail prices) are:
- The Macallan Red Collection 40 Years Old – £11,300
- The Macallan Red Collection 50 Years Old – £37,500
- The Macallan Red Collection 60 Years Old – £49,000
- The Macallan Red Collection 71 Years Old – £58,500
- The Macallan Red Collection 74 Years Old – £61,500
- The Macallan Red Collection 78 Years Old – £65,500
Age-statements as high as these are very rare in the industry. The 78 year old expression in this collection now holds the record for the oldest age-statement whisky to be offered, not only by Macallan, but at any auction in history.
Each bottle in The Red Collection is beautifully presented in a hand-crafted oak box, made from the same European oak that is used to create Macallan’s famous oak casks.
The Colour Red
The name ‘The Red Collection’ evokes a colour that has been instrumental to Macallan’s branding throughout its history, beginning with the relationship between the colour red, and Alexander Reid, the founder of The Macallan.
On The Macallan’s website they say:
“Reid is a surname of Scottish origin, meaning “red”. This surname is derived from a nickname, ‘the Red,’ a nickname usually given on account of a person’s ruddy face or the sanguine red complexion of their hair. Our founder, Alexander Reid carried this colour with him in his name from the very beginning of The Macallan”.
Red is also the colour that Roderick Kemp, proprietor of Macallan from 1892 to 1909, used to distinguish the brand from others, using the colour red to indicate that Macallan whisky was superior to the rest.
The colour red also conjures images of some of The Macallan’s most famous collections, such as the Handwritten Label or Red Ribbon series, which is distinguishable by the red red wrapped around the label. And, the Macallan 25 Year Old Anniversary Malts, famous for the large, red ‘25’ that sits in the centre of the label.
And, of course, the colour red is a shoutout to Macallan’s infamous sherry oak casks which they have been using for many years to mature their whiskies. The Macallan website states that:
“The term oak is ‘Quercus Robur’ in Latin (hence the Spanish word for oak, “rob-le”). Robur means “strong”, or robust, and it has an Indo-European root: “reudh-“, which was used to refer to striking red hues”.
Red has an unparalleled significance to The Macallan, and so it is no wonder that the colour gave its name to Macallan’s oldest collection of whiskies.
In Collaboration With Javi Aznarez
Javi Aznarez is a Spanish artist based in Cadaqués, Spain. Aznarez was asked to design some unique labels for the Red Collection that evoked what the colour red means to the brand.
The result was six labels that depict the story of the Macallan brand, and three key people that helped to put Macallan on the map:
- Alexander Reid, founder of The Macallan
- Roderick Kemp, Former Proprietor at The Macallan who helped to distinguish the brand from competitors
- Allan Shiach, Former Chairman and Chief Executive of The Macallan, and the man behind the Handwritten Label series
Javi Aznarez illustrated two sets of the Red Collection with these labels. One of these sets sits in The Macallan’s archives, and the other was sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2020 for £756,400, soaring past its pre-sale estimate of £200,000.
The collection was sold to raise money for City Harvest London, a food charity that distributes leftover food to vulnerable people across the city. The sale of the collection is said to have funded 2.5 million meals for those living in food poverty.
The Red Collection At Auction
The Macallan Red collection was released in October 2020, and so there have not been many results at auction since then. Here are the highest prices paid for each bottle individually at auction since they first appeared at auction:
- Macallan Red Collection 40 Year Old – £20,000
- Macallan Red Collection 50 Year Old – £52,000
- Macallan Red Collection 60 Year Old – £122,000
- Macallan Red Collection 71 Year Old – £59,000
- Macallan Red Collection 74 Year Old – No Sale
- Macallan Red Collection 78 Year Old – £92,500
Whilst each bottle in the Red Collection has fetched astonishing prices, you will notice that the Macallan 60 Year Old Red Collection has far outperformed the other bottles in terms of hammer price. And, there is no recorded sale of a 74 Year Old from the Red Collection. Now, there is an interesting reason for this.
The 60 Year Old expression and the 74 Year Old expression from the collection have both only appeared at auction once.
The 74 Year Old was up for auction in December 2020 via Whisky Auctioneer. The highest bid for this bottle was £65,500 and yet the bottle did not meet its reserve, and was not sold as a result.
The 60 Year Old sold via Whisky Auctioneer in October 2020 for an astonishing £122,000.
Now, the scarcity of these bottles at auction in comparison to the other bottles begs the question, how many bottles are there? The truthful answer is, we don’t know. Macallan has, quite cleverly, chosen not to disclose how many bottles of each age statement are available, meaning that each appearance at auction marks an extremely unique buying opportunity – we do not know when the next bottle is going to appear at auction.
The result of this careful secrecy is astonishing hammer prices for every bottle, particularly the 60 Year Old, as the apparent scarcity of the bottle pushes the price up.
So, if you are waiting on a 60 Year Old expression to add to your Red Collection, you might be waiting a long time.
Should You Invest In The Macallan Red Collection?
And now to the question of investment. The Macallan Red Collection is unprecedented in terms of original retail price, age-statements, and sales at auction. Considering the current prices of the bottles at auction if you were going to invest then the initial investment would be quite substantial. As such, you would have to hope for a huge rise in value in order to see any worthwhile return on investment. In our experience, new Macallan bottlings see a huge spike in price upon release and then level out. With the spike in price behind it, the Red Collection will probably have to wait a while to see a decent increase in value.
With that in mind, if you are looking for a short-term investment then these are probably not your best bet. However, they could be a great long-term investment.
There is no doubt that these are bottles of high calibre with age statements the likes of which are rarely seen in the industry. As such, we would expect the value of these bottles to rise steadily over time, meaning that if you can afford the initial investment and then wait 10 plus years, you could see a decent return. After all, how many people can say that they own a 78 Year Old bottle of Macallan whisky?
Then, there is the possibility that the Red Collection could be ongoing…
Many of the Macallan press releases surrounding the collection say that “[t]he Red Collection features a carefully curated selection of ongoing aged expressions and high aged guest releases.”
This suggests that whilst the 40 year old, 50 year old, and 60 year old might be part of the core of the Red Collection, that they may be featured alongside high age-statement bottlings other than the 71, 74, and 78 year olds.
So, as the collection grows so too does the collectabilty. What a feat to be able to say that you own a vertical of Macallan Red Collection bottles!
Looking To Collect Macallan Bottles?
We have helped many people starting out in bottle investment or collecting, and Macallan bottles are certainly very collectible. If you are looking to invest in Macallan 25 Year Old Anniversary Malts, Handwritten Labels, and more then please email [email protected] and we will be more than happy to chat to you about your whisky investment journey. Alternatively, you can visit our Become A Private Collector page to get started.