Dis­till­ing time

The Ma­callan Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy: Steven Klein Edi­tion is about mak­ing a sin­gle mo­ment last for­ever.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Taste - By MICHAEL CHEANG star2@thes­tar.com.my

HAVE you ever had a mo­ment when you were en­joy­ing a fine whisky with friends, and time just stops?

That mo­ment of stopped time is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind The Ma­callan Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy: Steven Klein Edi­tion. It is the sixth in the Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy (MOP) se­ries of col­lab­o­ra­tions be­tween the Scotch sin­gle malt brand and some of the world’s great­est pho­tog­ra­phers.

Best known for his col­lab­o­ra­tions with the likes of Madonna and Ri­hanna, Klein is one of the world’s most chal­leng­ing and provoca­tive artists in pho­tog­ra­phy and film. Ma­callan cre­ative di­rec­tor Ken Grier had sought Klein out be­cause he wanted to shake things up a lit­tle for the sixth edi­tion of the MOP.

“We’ve had Rankin, which was a very fash­ion-ori­ented project. We’ve had Al­bert Wat­son, a very clas­sic black and white film noir project. An­nie Lei­bovitz, which was about the guy and the guy mo­ment. El­liot Er­witt, which was street pho­tog­ra­phy about Scot­tish char­ac­ter. And Mario Testino, which was about cap­tur­ing the “as good as it gets” mo­ment in a party.

“We’d had projects that were very much about still pho­tog­ra­phy. So we thought it’d be in­ter­est­ing to dis­rupt the rhythm of what we’ve done,” Grier ex­plained dur­ing an in­ter­view af­ter the launch of the whisky in Hong Kong last month.

Ac­cord­ing to him, Klein brings a “new, vis­ually dis­rup­tive and re­mark­able piece of art to the Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy”.

“He’s a fun and in­ter­est­ing guy with a dark per­spec­tive on things. He’s quite am­bigu­ous ... and it’s in­ter­est­ing, the way he por­trays things. I’ve seen the work he’s done with Madonna. I also saw the tremen­dous video he did for Dior with Ri­hanna,” he said.

When Grier ap­proached Klein for the project, the artist came up with the idea of “dis­till­ing time”.

“When I asked Steven what he wanted to do (for his whisky), he said, ‘for me, when you’re hav­ing a fan­tas­tic drink mo­ment and you’re with great friends, time stops. You just want that mo­ment to last for­ever and sus­pend time’,” Grier re­called. “So we came up with the idea of dis­till­ing that beau­ti­ful mo­ment when you are en­joy­ing Ma­callan to a very short space of time.”

Klein’s in­ten­tion was to “ex­am­ine a world stand­ing still through a mov­ing cam­era”. “Typ­i­cally with con­sump­tion of al­co­hol, there is al­ways an abun­dance of move­ment. I thought what if it had all stopped for a mo­ment and I could take a closer look at it. The idea is the per­cep­tion of time,” the pho­tog­ra­pher said in a press re­lease.

Grier re­called the process: “We shot in an old ma­chine tool fac­tory in Brookyln, which gave it a real char­ac­ter, and the mod­els had to stay still for about eight hours! Some of them were cramp­ing up and needed mas­sages!”

The shoot even­tu­ally yielded a short film and ten in­di­vid­ual im­ages that play with the no­tion of time and in­cor­po­rates dif­fer­ent el­e­ments from dif­fer­ent eras into one sin­gle mo­ment. The mod­els’ va­cant, haunt­ing stares, the ar­rest­ing red, smok­ing in­dus­trial back­ground, and the Thom Brown-de­signed out­fits all meld to­gether to cre­ate a vis­ual im­age of the whisky be­ing en­joyed over dif­fer­ent eras, but some­how, still shar­ing the same mo­ment in time.

The pho­tos are just one half of the project though. Next, The Ma­callan mas­ter whisky maker Bob Dal­garno had to come up with a whisky that could match Klein’s vi­sion.

“Bob be­came re­ally ob­sessed with the whole thing,” Grier said. “He spent two weeks look­ing at that movie over and over again!”

In the end, Dal­garno cre­ated a whisky that is truly unique and fits the whole “dis­till­ing time” theme per­fectly.

He in­cluded whiskies that were very, very old, some dat­ing back to the 1940s and 50s. “Back then, be­cause the world was at war, you couldn’t use cork to make the fires to kiln the bar­ley. All of it was used to make steel, planes, tanks and ar­ma­ments. So we were mak­ing Ma­callan us­ing peat. Some of the

whiskies in there are from that batch,” said Grier.

Then, there was a very old Ma­callan that was ma­tured in a cask that con­tained Span­ish Rioja wine. “We’d never done that be­fore and never done that since. It gave the whisky an in­ter­est­ing tinge of red, and a slightly wine-y char­ac­ter,” Grier said, adding that it is a very unique whisky that will never be seen again, sim­ply be­cause it was the only time Ma­callan had ever done some­thing like that.

“Fi­nally, Bob picked mainly Span­ish sherry oak casks, but some Amer­i­can oak as well. The Span­ish sherry brings out the dark, deep rich wood notes, and the Amer­i­can oak gives it light notes. So he’s re­ally proud of it.”

Of­fi­cial tast­ing notes for the whisky de­scribe it as hav­ing a nose with sweet berries with light vanilla, dried fruits, ginger, and wisps of smoke. On the palate, there is lin­ger­ing sweet spice with sub­tle smok­i­ness, dark choco­late and orange zest, and end­ing with a medium to long fin­ish of soft, rich fruit and wood smoke.

Lim­ited to only 1000 sets world­wide, the Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy: Steven Klein edi­tion is pre­sented in a beau­ti­ful black case con­tain­ing the lim­ited edi­tion whisky, and one of ten dif­fer­ent Steven Klein ex­clu­sive signed prints.

Also in­cluded in the set is a strik­ing horse’s head bot­tle stop­per, and a book of cock­tail recipes by Span­ish culi­nary trio Roca broth­ers of El Celler de Can Roca in Spain that comes to­gether with a range of cus­tom bar­ware tools, in­clud­ing a mar­tini glass, high­ball pint glass, drip­per, in­fuser, and dis­tiller.

Lim­ited to only 1,000 sets world­wide, it is priced in Malaysia at RM18,000. For more in­for­ma­tion or to pur­chase, email malaysia@ themacallan.com.

The Ma­callan Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy: Steven Klein Edi­tion.

— Pho­tos: The Edring­ton Group

The Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy: Steven Klein edi­tion is pre­sented in a beau­ti­ful black case con­tain­ing the lim­ited edi­tion whisky, a signed print and cus­tom bar tools.

The Ma­callan Masters of Pho­tog­ra­phy: Steven Klein Edi­tion. Klein pro­duced a short film and 10 in­di­vid­ual im­ages that play with the no­tion of time and in­cor­po­rates dif­fer­ent el­e­ments from dif­fer­ent eras into one sin­gle mo­ment. On lo­ca­tion Hong Kong

The set also comes with a book of cock­tail recipes by Span­ish culi­nary trio Roca broth­ers of El Celler de Can Roca in Spain along with a range of cus­tom bar­ware tools.

Grier sought Klein out be­cause he wanted to shake things up a lit­tle for the sixth edi­tion of the MOP.

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