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The Macallan’s Sarah Burgess on Edition No. 5

Color is a hot topic in the world of Scotch whisky. While it’s quite common (and completely legal) to add coloring to the finished product, there are a few purists left in the game who do not. Counted among those, most notably, is The Macallan––instead, with the latest iteration of their Edition series, they’ve given the concept of color an entirely new meaning.

Edition No. 5 is the product of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between The Macallan and Pantone, wherein Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess and Pantone Color Institute Vice President Laurie Pressman came together to embody this particular expression and its many nuances in one single hue. Here, we explore the story behind both the juice and its striking purple shade with Burgess herself.

The Macallan Edition No. 5 in collaboration with the Pantone Color Institute

Spirits Network: Tell us in your own words about Edition No. 5 and what sets it apart from its predecessors.

Sarah Burgess: Edition No. 5 is different than the others because of the use of only American Oak. That’s the standout point between Edition No. 5 and any of the others whiskies in the Edition series.

SN: How did the partnership with Pantone come to be?

SB: Edition No. 5 is a celebration of The Macallan and our 100% natural color. As one of the only whiskies to use 100% natural color, The Macallan exceptional whiskies are characterized from their time spent in the very best casks. The Pantone Color Institute was the perfect partner to highlight natural color.

SN: What’s the dynamic been like between you and Laurie Pressman throughout the collaboration process?

SB: It’s unusual in your work and life to meet someone that’s from a completely different industry, but absolutely understands your full process and just gets what you’re trying to do. So despite being in different industries, we were very like-minded, and our conversations throughout the process sparked new ideas and complemented each other.

Laurie visited The Macallan Distillery to get inspiration to create this unique color for Edition No. 5 and stayed close within the whisky making process. It was a brilliant collaboration.

SN: In your opinion, how does introducing something visual (like color) to the tasting experience change the game?

SB: The tasting of whisky is about a sensory experience, both the nose and the taste are important factors but so are other senses, like visual. They all serve to enhance the tasting experience and creating lasting memories. Everything comes together during a tasting experience, from the environment to nose, tasting, and visual.

SN: What’s your favorite way to drink Edition No. 5?

SB: I enjoy Edition No. 5 neat.

Learn more about The Macallan Edition No. 5 with Sarah Burgess and Pantone’s Laurie Pressman here:

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