The luxury spirit, The Macallan, has revealed Mario Testino as its fifth Master of Photography. For the very first time in its award-winning series, The Macallan brings to life its foundation stones, The Six Pillars, through the eyes of one of the world’s most prolific portrait and fashion photographer. The Masters of Photography: Mario Testino Edition allows him interpret The Six Pillars through the characterization of six individual personalities in his distinct, inimitable and luxurious style. (See the video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nftd-OF11VM)
The Macallan Masters of Photography series features exclusive collaborations, conjoining the art of whisky making with the artist’s interpretation of the world of The Macallan. Previous editions were authored by iconic photographers Elliott Erwitt, Annie Leibovitz, Rankin and Albert Watson.
Founded in 1824 in the heart of Speyside, The Macallan was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed. Since then it has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading single malt whiskies. The creation of The Macallan draws on the vital contributing influences of Spain, North America and Scotland, and of their respective natural raw materials, combined with traditional methods and craftsmanship.
“As one of the world’s truly great whiskies, we seek to collaborate with the best photographers in the world. Not just those who have the technical ability, but something more,” remarks Ken Grier, Director of Malts for The Macallan. “The Macallan Masters of Photography is about the personal touch, we work with photographers with whom we have a shared passion to create beautiful collectables. Mario’s emotional engagement coupled with the level of his creative involvement, heralds an evolution of the role of the Master in the Masters of Photography series, one which has brought about an exciting visual celebration of our fundamental Six Pillars. Not only is he a historically important giant in contemporary photography, his elegance, charm and gentlemanly approach to creating this ultimate party has made him both a joy and an inspiration to work with.”
The Masters of Photography: Mario Testino Edition is The Macallan’s most inspired to date, with the whisky bringing together six different casks to showcase the ultimate complexity. Each of these six perfect whiskies is the definitive representation of one of the Six Pillars: the Spiritual Home, Curiously Small Stills, Finest Cut, Exceptional Oak Casks, Natural Color and Peerless Spirit. Each pillow has its own definitive character, flavor and aroma which when brought together; thus creating what many consider to be the perfect single malt with unparalleled depth, darkness and diversity. Each edition comprises a different Mario Testino print capturing The Six Pillars, an exclusive photo-archival booklet featuring a total of 20 images, shot by Testino during the process, one bottle of the single malt whisky and six miniatures from each of the selected six casks.
Renowned for his mastery of composition – the artistic arrangement and placement of visual elements within the picture – and for creating a reflective and intense connection with his sitters, be it celebrities or royalty,Mario Testino has now turned his lens to The Macallan. The Master Whisky Maker personally selected these six unique casks from over 200,000 maturing at The Macallan distillery to craft this limited edition expression. He has achieved this through adding layer upon layer of character and flavor, reflecting the approach taken to the photography itself. Shot in Beijing, in a former palace near the Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square, the photographs showcase the vibrancy and luxury of The Macallan world, infused with subtle eclecticism and cultural allusions.
Presenting the first ever Masters of Photography design collaboration, each of the 1,000 Mario Testino Editions for sale globally (available worldwide starting at $3500)– of which there are four different variations, each featuring one of the four iconic shots taken by Mario – are presented in a beautiful, high gloss, black lacquered presentation box, designed together with Mario Testino. Inspired by the subtle elegance and rich Asian cultural heritage of traditional lacquered boxes, each presentation box is individually numbered and features a secret hidden compartment.
“Whisky was the choice of drink in my country during the years I was growing up. When I was approached by The Macallan to take part in the Masters of Photography Series I decided to capture the moment when people get together to celebrate, in the atmosphere of a whisky environment – a whisky club!” says Mario Testino.
Born in Lima, Peru, Testino moved to London in 1976 where he made his home and began his career. His vision has made him a much sought-after creative partner in the fashion and beauty industries. His work has been featured in magazines from Vogue to Vanity Fair and he has contributed to the success of many leading fashion and beauty houses through advertising campaigns, from Burberry and Dolce & Gabbana, to Chanel and Lancome.
As a portrait photographer Mario Testino works with the actors and celebrities of the moment, as well as receiving royal commissions from HRH The Prince of Wales, TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, HRH Prince Harry, (the late) Diana, Princess of Wales (including the iconic portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales for her Vanity Fair cover story in 1997), Her Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan and intimate shots of original supermodel Kate Moss spanning several decades.
The recipient of many awards, Testino has received the Medalha Tiradentes from the state of Rio de Janeiro, in 2010 the Grand Cross Order of Merit, his country’s highest honor and in 2013, the Order of the British Empire in recognition of his services to photography and charity. In 2012 Testino established MATE, Asociacion Mario Testino in Lima, Peru. MATE is a not-for-profit cultural organization that promotes and celebrates the arts of Peru and permanently hosts his own work. He has also published twelve books, including MaRio de Janeiro Testino, Kate Moss by Mario Testino, Private View and In Your Face.
New for 2014 is the The Six Pillars Tour (The Macallan Visitor Centre, The Macallan Distilleries Ltd, Easter Elchies, Craigellachie, AB38 9RX, Scotland. Tour duration: approx. 1 hour 45 minutes. Price per person – £15). Much like their curiously small stills, the small tour groups are limited to just 10 people to ensure a luxurious, personal experience. Your friendly and knowledgeable guide will explain how we create The Macallan‘s rich spirit in a working still house and introduce you to the ‘Six Pillars’. You will learn how the company’s unparalleled investment in the finest casks contributes to the natural colors, aromas and flavors that set The Macallan apart. After a thorough immersion into the world of The Macallan, you will experience a nosing and tasting of four The Macallan whiskies as well as their very foundation, their wonderfully rich new make spirit.