The Macallan and Bentley Motors Teamed Up to Create This Unusual Horizontal Whisky Bottle

The bottle is made with reclaimed wood and metals from the Scotch makers' distillery and the car brand's luxury automobiles.

The Macallan Horizon
Photo: Courtesy of The Macallan

In a red hot rare Scotch market, The Macallan has emerged as arguably the most coveted name — in no small part because the brand holds numerous price records including the world's most expensive bottle. Similarly, even casual drivers have heard of Bentley Motors, producer of some of the world's most expensive cars.

But though ascending to the top of the whisky or automotive industry undoubtedly requires quality and craftsmanship, marketing also plays a major role. And today, Macallan and Bentley have announced a new Scotch collaboration that primarily relishes in their positions as luxury leaders — to the point where it's not entirely clear what the product is.

The Macallan Horizon is billed as a "highly innovative limited edition single malt whisky in development by the brands" slated to be available in the summer of 2023. As a car company, Bentley likely knows very little about making Scotch, and so it probably shouldn't be surprising that, at this point, the partnership focuses almost entirely on the packaging design. In fact, outside of being produced by Macallan, very few details are provided about the whisky the bottle will contain.

But oh what a bottle it is! The primary innovation, as the brands explains it, is that this new packaging "defies the traditional vertical aesthetic of a whisky bottle and reflects the horizontal trajectory of the automotive world." Or, to use simpler language, this Scotch intended to be stored on its side.

Macallan and Bentley wax poetic about how the final design represents their "mastery of space and time," but in practical terms, two unusual elements stand out. First, due to its horizontal nature, the forthcoming bottle will not have a cork. Second, placing a traditional bottle of Scotch on its side could allow it to roll off the table, so in lieu of the usual standing base, The Macallan Horizon's packaging features a unique 180-degree twist and is built to be displayed horizontally.

Then, to elevate that concept to the next level, the packaging is constructed from materials with a special significance to both brands — namely, repurposed wood from The Macallan and Bentley; repurposed copper, including a portion sourced from former The Macallan copper stills; aluminum recovered from the Bentley manufacturing process; and ethically-sourced leather from the local Scottish supplier Bridge of Weir, known for their "fine automotive leather."

The Macallan Horizon
Courtesy of The Macallan

"Our prototype for The Macallan Horizon is truly pioneering in both its design and use of materials," Chris Cooke, Bentley's head of design collaborations, stated. "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 almost treat light as another material in itself, and the interplay between light and the wood, aluminum and copper materials is extraordinary."

Meanwhile, Jaume Ferras, The Macallan's global creative director, spoke to how dealing with a car company altered the whisky producer's approach. "In the spirits world, everything is upright, such as our stills and our bottles," he said. "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."

But on that note, one big question gets glossed over: When you pour this beautiful bottle of The Macallan Horizon, what comes out? According to the brands, the final component will be a "very special single malt whisky." They continue, "The Macallan Master Whisky Maker Kirsteen Campbell developed the flavor profile for the whisky following a visit to Bentley Motors in Crewe, where she observed first hand their shared passion for creativity, craftsmanship and innovation."

In the 650-word announcement, that's literally the only sentence explaining the actual Scotch inside — which feels like it probably should play a more important role. Granted, it's probably safe to say the results won't taste like motor oil, but with so much emphasis on the bottle, it appears the can has been kicked down the road.

And so, fittingly, the pricing for this new product will also be revealed closer to its actual release.

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