Celebrations for New Year’s Day come in many forms. From fireworks to ball drops, it usually takes a spark to light up the start to a new year. For the Scottish, tradition calls for many a fiery affair – a toasty blessing after a frigid winter – and spirited blessings that warm the hearts.
Bringing the celebrations of Hogmanay – the last day before crossing over to the new year – into a bottle, The Macallan imbues the new release with all that is quintessentially Scottish for you to usher in abundant Caledonian tidings.
The element of fire – seen igniting birthday candles and splendid fireworks – is linked to acts of hope across multiple cultures. For the Scots, Hogmanay pulls in the same symbolic references and closes the year with spectacular fiery traditions.
Of the most rustic and iconic, the signature torch processions often end with an exhilarating scene of “fireballs” being flung into the harbour – clearly a send-off to any leftover bad vibes from the exiting year. For that double dose of cleansing, there’s the “saining” – a blessing achieved by sprinkling natural local waters around the house before smudging it with the smoke from juniper branches.
To welcome good luck, the Scottish also invite loved ones and friends over on New Year’s Day with the belief that the “first footing” by the first guest will signal the year’s outlook. The last two acts conclude with delicious sips of the country’s iconic whisky as a celebratory toast.
Picking up on this auspicious heritage, The Macallan begins a tradition of its own with the release of an annual limited-edition gifting series. The first release, dubbed A Night on Earth in Scotland, displays the many aspects of the resplendent Hogmanay celebrations, and augurs joyous rebirth and blessings in a bottle.
A NIGHT ON EARTH IN SCOTLAND
Interpreting an abstract idea like a world-famous holiday into a bottled recipe required the skills of an expert at The Macallan. Chosen whisky maker, Sarah Burgess, dug into her personal history of growing up in her family home in Speyside (aptly located across the river from the Macallan Estate) to craft the special single malt expression for A Night on Earth in Scotland.
“The whisky’s vanilla sweetness references the rich Scottish shortbread traditionally gifted and eaten at Hogmanay, while notes of dried orange and spice recall the flavours and aromas that filled our house through the festive season,” she explained.
Infused with character from the estate’s exceptional sherry-seasoned American and European oak casks, ripe with a nose of baked apples, plum and almond, the whisky is then passed through American ex-bourbon barrels to conjure its rich, sweet shortbread-like profile, delivering a festive finale of lightly toasted marshmallow, dried orange, fig and cinnamon, with a soft, velvety mouthfeel.
Burgess hopes to evoke the same feelings of communal aspirations and warmth for drinkers with the whisky, best enjoyed neat with a side of Scottish shortbread. A Night on Earth in Scotland, she says, encapsulates “the hopes and dreams of Hogmanay celebrations past, present and future; it also conveys the unwavering human desire to spend special times with loved ones”.
A VERY SCOTTISH UNBOXING
To heighten the act of gifting, The Macallan has included a presentation box exclusively designed by London-based illustrator Erica Dorn.
The multi-layered packaging invokes the joy of discovery as the bottle within emerges, swathed in a dancing pattern of flames.
“Fire plays a significant role in New Year celebrations around the world,” said Dorn. “Around its warmth, we gather our families, friends and loved ones to share memories and hopes. Through its purifying qualities, we release the past to clear the way for the future. Though the fire rituals may differ from culture to culture, fire is universal in its ability to unite us and bring us home.”
Look deeper into the abstract design and you’ll find playful elements of the “first footing”, when the gifting of coals links back to the joyful flames. The vivid reds and oranges give way to a blue interior upon opening, harkening to the night skies during Hogmanay as well as the distinguished blue of the Scottish flag. And as one comes to the bottle itself, you’ll see it cradled by a deep amber, reminiscent of rare treasures or the shortbread the whisky itself tastes of.
Explaining her palette choice, Dorn shared: “The colours for this presentation box were selected with a particular journey in mind: First, red for merriment, vitality, good fortune and joy; blue to remind us of a winter evening in Scotland, in all its peace and stillness; and finally, amber – in tribute to the sweet aroma of soft butter and freshly baked shortbread, which were an inspiration for Sarah Burgess in the creation of this whisky.”
Infused with detail, heritage and exceptional crafting, The Macallan makes this significant event a truly memorable occasion with A Night on Earth in Scotland.
Ring in a spirited Scottish New Year with the limited-edition A Night on Earth in Scotland, available at The Macallan at The Raffles Hotel or online.