Established in 1824, The Macallan may be among Scotland’s most storied distilleries, but it wears the weight of heritage lightly. The single malt whisky maker is forever innovating through a growing number of limited-edition releases and collaborators, from the James Bond franchise to Stella and Mary McCartney. The latest release is A Night on Earth: The Journey, created with the Shanghai-based mixed-media artist Nini Sum, whose pop-bright, dreamlike screen-prints have earned global acclaim.
The Macallan’s global creative director, Jaume Ferràs, says The Journey “focuses on the idea of bringing something special back to your family when you return home: the coming together of old friends and family, with reflection on the past year, and hope for the coming one.”
The whisky conjures Nini Sum’s sensory memories of Lunar New Year, with notes of vanilla, toasted coconut and oak, citrus fruits and subtle nuttiness capturing the aromas of sweet rice pudding and toasted oak from rice popcorn vendors, the pop of fireworks and the taste of milk lollies and sunflower seeds snacked on between excited talk of New Year’s plans.
Continues Ferràs, “A Night on Earth: The Journey is a remarkable whisky which draws on inspiration from Lunar New Year. These complex and comforting flavours play an important role in this celebration, and an essential role in the flavour profile of this single malt.”
Nini Sum sums up the experience: “The steam coming off hot food during the New Year dinner is one of the most vivid ‘home’ feelings I remember. I wanted to recreate that atmosphere, those precious moments of gathering and reunion under a bright moon bringing us all together.
During this time of year, people who work in big cities go through the world’s largest annual human migration to go back to their hometowns for that moment of reunion with their families and friends,” the artist continues. “When the fire is lit inside and paper lanterns hang from the roof, you know there is someone waiting for you to come home so they can welcome you with a hot meal and a hug.”
Adds Ferràs, “This is the perfect whisky to savour at special moments, best enjoyed with friends, family and loved ones while reminiscing of the year past and looking to the future.”
Nini Sum designed special packaging that tells the story of homecoming over three layers of nested artworks: a bold red outer box decorated with a landscape of trees and mountains under a starry night sky exploding with fireworks; an urban scene in blue tones streaked with bolts of bright colour representing people flocking from the cities; and a final layer in yellows and oranges evoking a warm reception under soft lantern light. The ultimate homecoming, wherever you call home and whomever you share it with.
The Macallan A Night on Earth: The Journey (700ml), $235, themacallan.com.