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Incredible Gift from The Macallan & Interview with Artist Javi Aznarez

Auction Proceeds of Macallan's Red Collection Donated to help feed London's Hungry

"We are overwhelmed with the incredible support The Macallan has given us, and the fantastic figure reached last week at Sotheby's with their Red Collection, allows us to provide 2.5 million meals for those facing hunger in London. Just incredible" Laura Winningham OBE, CEO City Harvest London.

The proceeds from this auction will be critical in nourishing and improving the lives of tens of thousands of people in the very challenging months ahead, as we are able to expand our operations to include more charities and groups feeding people in London. City Harvest is so appreciative of the continued support of The Macallan, their interest in our mission, and commitment to people and the planet.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby's Spirits Specialist said: “This exceptional result for The Red Collection is testament not only to the strength of the whisky market but also to the esteem with which The Macallan is held. Equally, the result of The Ultimate Whisky Collection Part II cements its position as the most valuable whisky collection ever sold at auction. The overall total for The Ultimate Whisky Collection speaks volumes of the diversity in today’s premium whisky market and the importance of provenance to collectors. A fantastic result for Sotheby’s inaugural Halloween spirits sale and City Harvest London.”

Igor Boyadjian, Managing Director, The Macallan, said: “Global communities are key to The Macallan and as part of our commitment to giving back, we are pleased to have collaborated with Sotheby’s to auction this extremely rare, complete set of The Red Collection, which features our oldest ongoing aged expressions and a selection of high aged guest releases, including the oldest bottlings our brand has ever released. This bespoke auction lot has raised an incredible amount of funds for food charity, City Harvest London, with a final sale price of £756,400, which crucially equates to almost 2.5m meals delivered to people in need. This will allow the charity to continue to make a real difference to people’s lives, and we are very supportive of their sustainable vision and efforts to support those most in need.”

Javi Aznarez - Artist

The colour red has deep and long-standing significance for The Macallan, beginning with Alexander Reid, the farmer and teacher who founded The Macallan in 1824, whose surname means ‘the red one’ in Scots and was originally associated with red hair. In 1903, owner Roderick Kemp launched The Macallan Choice Old range, which was reportedly shipped in cases labelled with distinctive red print to distinguish it from The Macallan’s existing whiskies, which featured black labelling. Almost eight decades later, in 1980, red was to feature strongly in the release of The Macallan’s then oldest vintages, dated 1938, 1940 and 1950. Allan Shiach, chairman of The Macallan at that time, tied a red ribbon around the sought-after bottlings to denote their age and value.

These three characters are featured in an animated film created to introduce The Red Collection in collaboration with Javi Aznarez, acclaimed for his striking graphic art which has featured in several films, including director Wes Anderson’s forthcoming feature, The French Dispatch. The animation is set to music recorded by Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti, one of the most sought-after classical musicians of her generation.

City Harvest immediately fell in love with Javi's illustrations, so we spoke with Javi to ask him about his process and inspiration.

Your style is beautiful - what influences your work?

I am basically influenced by European cinema and comics, specifically by a drawing style reminiscent of classic prints. If I think of a cartoonist who has marked me, I think of Quino. I like to draw with a plot, it creates a somewhat dark atmosphere, but it is a technique with which I feel very comfortable and it seemed like the ideal treatment to represent the Red Collection.

Making an animation is always a challenge and it was not easy to explain, in a minute and a half, the importance of the color red in the almost 200 years of Macallan. Defining how and what we wanted to tell was the most complex aspect of the process. I think it was a good idea not to enter into a classic narrative, instead opting for flashes of the peak moments in Macallan's history. The idea was that people would capture the personality, the essence of this whisky.

With the animatic (first rough draft in the animation process) finished, the standard process would have been to create all the illustrations and then animate them, but due to time constraints, we did it almost in reverse. However, we didn't encounter too many problems as the animation team were brilliant... and when you work under time pressure and without margin for error, fresher solutions sometimes emerge.

City Harvest could not be more grateful for the incredible support and journey we have been on with The Macallan this year, and the huge impact it has had on London.

Thank you.

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