Elixir Distillers, an independent bottler, and Livingstone, a design company, have teamed up to produce a 42-item Scotch whisky collection that draws inspiration from Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth.
Sir Quentin Blake drew the character's portrait for each of these original, limited editions, and whisky author David Broom infused language with flavor notes.
The team behind the launch includes Dave Broom, a writer and author who has focused on spirits for about 30 years, Lexi Livingstone Burgess, founder of the projects Creators Livingstone and Burgess Studio; and Sukhinder Singh, owner of award-winning independent bottler, Elixir Distillers.
“Sometimes in our industry a project presents itself that you can’t say no to. This was one of them, a real one-off.” ~ Sukhinder Singh, owner of Elixir Distillers
The Macbeth Scotch Whisky Collection
Six series have been developed around the characters: Leads (five "regal" malts), Thanes (12 "noble" malts), Ghosts (from six "ghost distilleries"), Witches (three single malts and a blend), Murderers (four "island" malts), and Household (10 "characterful" whiskies). The age, bottling run, and pricing ranges of the whiskies are influenced by how prominent the characters are in the story.
The collection will be made available in "acts" over the course of the following three years, with Act I (which includes nine whiskies) debuting on February 27. The 56-year-old Glen Grant cast as King Duncan, the 31-year-old Linkwood as Lady Macduff, the smokey Islay and island whiskies for the First Witch and First Murderer, the 31-year-old Cambus single grain whisky for the first of six Ghosts, and the 10-year-old Blair Athol as the Bloody Sergeant are the focal points of the first act.
According to Broom, the Macbeth collection is distinctive in the whisky industry since it deviates from the manner that such things are often done. We don't have this whisky; where are we going to put it? The text serves as its engine. Burgess continues, "And the nicest thing is that people know the characters and have ideas about them. This project alters your perspective on drams.
“It was a chance to create a remarkable compilation of whiskies, tapping into every corner of our stocks, from a different perspective, each one inspired by some of the most complete characters ever written and written about. It was a real passion project.” ~ Oliver Chilton, head blender for Elixir Distillers
Burgess commented, "Reading about the history of Scotch... I realized it seemed a lot like Macbeth and that Macbeth would be the perfect structure for a whiskey collection," at the Macbeth collection's launch event, which was appropriately hosted at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London.
In addition, Elixir Distillers' chief blender Oliver Chilton said, "It was fun to try and think of whiskies as persons and not just flavors, and not only of distilleries as personalities, but individual casks as characters."
The Macbeth Illustrations
For more than 20 years, Lexi designed books and exhibitions for Sir Quentin Blake.
“He is an extraordinary person – 90 years old and still drawing all day, every day.
Obviously I wanted Quentin to illustrate the characters; he showed limited interest, until I suggested drawing them as birds. Quentin, who has drawn anthropomorphic birds for decades and speaks of illustrating as a kind of acting, rather than observing the gestures, rang the following day to say he had woken at 4am and completed a full set of rough drawings. It was one of the most exciting moments of my working life” ~ Lexi Livingstone Burgess, founder of the project creators Livingstone and also Burgess Studio
Macbeth Whisky Prices and Where To Buy Them
Costs range from from £100 for a minor figure to more than £10,000 for one of the roles, including those for Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, King Duncan, Banquo, and Macduff (of which there are only 100 of each).
About Sir Quentin Blake
English novelist and illustrator Sir Quentin Blake is most known for his work on Roald Dahl's books, such as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "The BFG." He was born in Kent, England, in 1932, and attended both the Chelsea School of Art and the University of Cambridge.
In his career, Blake has worked with a wide spectrum of authors and covered a variety of genres, from picture books to novels, in more than 300 volumes that he has drawn. His pictures have a distinctive look that is vibrant, playful, and frequently hilarious. He is also renowned for his usage of watercolor and line drawings.
Blake has worked as an illustrator for adult publications in addition to writing and illustrating children's books. He has won various honors for his work, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award from 2002, which is regarded as the top accolade awarded to a children's book author or illustrator on the global scale.
For his contributions to illustration, Blake was knighted in 2013; he was also named the UK's first-ever Children's Laureate in 1999. Generations of readers and illustrators all around the world are inspired by him and his work.