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Issue 77 - Life through a lens

Whisky Magazine Issue 77
January 2009


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Life through a lens

Rob Allanson goes behind the scenes of The Macallan's latest ambitious project and gains exclusive access to the people involved.

There is a similarity, a synergy even, between the world of photography and distilling that I had not really thought of until this breathtaking project came along.

The photographer captures a moment in time on film, or less romantically on a digital card these days. It can generally only be of that moment, once the moment has past then that's it – Bresson's so-called ‘decisive moment'.

Looking at distilling in the same light the links are clear. The arm in the spirit safe swings across to the bowl to collect the heart of the run. This is the moment in distilling terms. If missed then that's it basically.

Ok I realise that is a fairly romanticised view of things, but seriously when you think about it, the handcrafted and artisan qualities of both, you can see why The Macallan chose to invest in such an interesting and daring collaboration.

Interesting because when you buy a bottle you are getting a genuine, one-off piece of art, and daring because, well, everyone's a critic when it comes to art.

What sets this project apart from anything else so far conceived in the whisky world is the access afforded to Scots born photographer Rankin in his quest to interpret The Macallan world through the camera lens.

Returning to his homeland, Rankin, born in Paisley, best known for his fashion photography and portraits of everyone from The Queen to Madonna, was invited to The Macallan's Speyside estate to interpret the iconic whisky brand. Nowhere was off limits and nothing was t...

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