Scotland is the land of the Loch Ness Monster, the kilt, and some of the best driving roads on the planet. It also happens to be the home of some of the greatest whiskies in the world, so if you happen to enjoy whisky and motoring – not at the same time, mind you – then Bentley Motors and The Macallan have just the thing to get your engine revving.
The Macallan Horizon prototype is the first limited edition single malt whisky from the two British brands’ collaboration, which they started in July 2021. It embodies sustainability with innovation, traditional craftsmanship, recycled materials and for the first time, an exclusive horizontal design.
Fans of The Macallan would know about the acclaimed Six Pillars, but if you’re new, here’s the 101. The single malt whiskies that the acclaimed distillery produces are largely inspired by its six pillars or foundation stones, as they’re also known. These very pillars – The Macallan Estate, Curiously Small Spirit Stills, Exceptional Oak Casks, Sherry Wine, Natural Colour, and Mastery – have all been vital elements that have made The Macallan a world-renowned Scotch whisky label that’s well-loved around the world.
While Bentley Motors and The Macallan bring to mind pipe-smoking chaps standing around in tweed jackets, both names – while steeped in history and heritage – are also on the cutting edge of technology. This spectacular marriage of old and new is best witnessed in The Macallan Horizon.
In paying homage to the Six Pillars, The Macallan and Bentley Motors have integrated six unique materials that are upcycled, repurposed, or ethically sourced into The Macallan Horizon.
Unlike traditional bottles, which stand vertically, The Macallan Horizon is inspired by the horizontal trajectory of a motor vehicle – no doubt thanks to Bentley’s input – and so was created to rest horizontally in a custom-built cradle.
An intricately twisted 3D structure, the cradle is a collectable work of art, and represents the pinnacle of design with sustainable materials. The arms are crafted in materials from both The Macallan and Bentley Motors, curving sensually around the limited edition bottle to give the illusion of speed and motion.
Recycled copper from The Macallan’s “curiously small stills” from the old distillery, aluminium from Bentley’s factory, and recycled wood and glass are used throughout this sculptural masterpiece. The above-mentioned aluminium is also used in the production of some of Bentley’s best cars, including the sporty Continental GT, grand Flying Spur, and ultimate 4×4, the Bentayga.
“Taking inspiration from the car industry, we are showcasing our creative development of The Macallan Horizon, which is among the most ground-breaking projects we have embarked on in our 200-year history,” said Jaume Ferras, Global Creative Director for The Macallan.
“Working with Bentley Motors has inspired us to see things differently. In the whisky world, everything is upright, such as our stills and our bottles. When we looked at the horizontal direction pursued by Bentley Motors as part of the automotive industry, it made us consider if and how we could adapt this format for whisky, which ultimately requires to be poured,” he added.
Those who’ve stepped into a Bentley would know that they’re adorned with high-quality woods. Different woods are also vital in the whisky-making process, so it was only natural for The Macallan Horizon design team to incorporate the material in the arms. Scottish leather has also been used in the design, but in keeping with the sustainability theme, only the world’s lowest CO2 leather was used – the same one in the recently-unveiled Bentley Mulliner Batur grand tourer.
Perhaps even more important than the arms is what’s holding the exquisite whisky. An intricately designed glass bottle – completely handmade with a 180-degree twist – makes the special edition whisky even more eye-catching.
When speaking about their partnership, Bentley’s Product and Lifestyle Design Manager, Chris Cooke, commented: “Our prototype for The Macallan Horizon is truly pioneering in both its design and use of materials. It’s a fusion of the sharply defined yet curvaceous Bentley design DNA, The Macallan’s innovation and recycled materials from both iconic British brands. The form of the design has allowed us to treat light as a material in itself, and the interplay between light and repurposed wood, aluminium and copper is extraordinary. In being both an object of beauty in itself and having such strong sustainability elements, it’s a representation of what’s coming next from our partnership.”
Have Bentley Motors and The Macallan succeeded in their pursuit of a better future with this prototype? It’s certainly the best whisky vessel that we’ve seen in a long while. The fact that companies are using technology to create groundbreaking designs focused on sustainability is certainly the right step forward.
Although we have a prototype now, The Macallan Horizon is not due to launch till next summer. So, if you’re as excited about this collaboration as we are then you’re going to have to hold that excitement for a little while longer. Be sure to check back in for updates and remember to drive responsibly.
Bentley Mulliner Batur
The Mulliner Batur is perhaps the best-looking Bentley money can buy – if you could get one. Named after a lake in Bali and based on the digital chassis technology from the Continental GT, it’s bound to be a sweet ride. The brand does have electric vehicle plans in the pipeline, however, this will be the last Bentley to feature the magnificent 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine. We’re still weeping over when they stopped producing the legendary 6.75-litre V8 engine after an incredible 60 years. But these are the times.
The engine will have around 740hp and 1,000nm of torque, linked to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. It’ll also cost a whopping £1.5 million. If it’s power you’re after, the Mulliner Batur will certainly make your world spin faster.
Power aside, Bentley’s latest grand tourer is also important because it signals the direction of the brand’s new design language. What’s most noticeable is the large upright grill and an elongated bonnet that makes the car appear as if it is sitting on its rear axle. It’s muscular, yet sleek; refined, yet aggressive. And it’s the hallmark of a great two-door car design – it looks fast even when at a standstill.
Being a Mulliner, there are customisable options for just about everything. In keeping with the sustainability theme, there is a sustainable leather option as well as flax-based natural fibre which can replace carbon fibre. Other luxurious add-ons include 18-carat gold interior accents and titanium exhausts.
Unfortunately, if you’re after one, all 18 that are set to be produced have been sold.