Editor's choice

The Macallan No. 5 Celebrating Natural Colour

Macallan Whisky have just released The Macallan No. 5, in collaboration with world renowned colour masters Pantone celebrates both The Macallan’s commitment to natural colour and the intricate whisky making process.

The Macallan No. 5 single malt celebrates both The Macallan’s commitment to natural colour and the complex whisky making process and is a coming together of whisky making mastery and colour expertise and insight. To celebrate this, the Pantone Color InstituteTM has created a uniquely bold shade of purple which The Macallan now owns. As the rainbow’s most complex colour, purple naturally felt like the ideal shade to highlight the equally complex process involved in The Macallan’s whisky making.

Natural whisky colour is a fundamental element of The Macallan Whisky. Each colour, from the lightest oak to the deepest mahogany, is naturally derived from the interaction of the whisky with the oak casks in which it is matured and nurtured.

It takes considerable courage and confidence in the quality of your whisky these days to eschew the increasingly heavy-handed use of permitted artificial caramel colouring in the wider whisky industry. Perhaps it started with the growing use of  sherry cask finishing by whiskey and whisky brands in Scotland and Ireland on some of their super premium expressions.

Sherry casks do generally impart darker hues than other cask finishes. For this reason, an erroneous belief has developed among inexperienced whisky drinkers that the darker the whisky, the older and better it must be. You know all can not be natural when you encounter a deep mahogony shade of non age statement whisky.

I have some experience of these pressures myself through my own involvement with Portmagee Irish Whiskey. Portmagee 9 is a blend of nine year old single grain and thirteen year old single malt, finished in Barbados Rum Casks. Despite its age and finish, it is still quite light in colour and this is often the first comment we receive from new reviewers.

Our decision to ignore the advice of our industry advisors to darken it before bottling has paid dividends as we are now one of the few natural Irish Whiskeys available with no added colour and non chill filtered even at 40% ABV. Courage and confidence in the quality of your whiskey!!

So, full marks to The Macallan, long an exemplar of all that is great in Scotch Whisky, for championing the 100% natural colour route in all of their expressions.

This latest Macallan Edition No.5 is part of The Edition Series which explores the unique and defining elements which make The Macallan one of the world’s most revered single malts.




Edition No.1 celebrated the mastery of wood; Edition No.2 celebrated taste through a collaboration with The Roca Brothers of El Celler de can Roca; Edition No.3 celebrated aroma in collaboration with Master Perfumer, Roja Dove and Edition No.4 celebrated architecture to reflect the opening of the new Macallan distillery and visitor experience.

Sarah Burgess, The Macallan Whisky Maker, said, “We can find much common ground between whisky making and colour creation and with Edition No.5 we have been able to explore and celebrate these two art forms. Whilst colour development starts with mixing basic colours with precision to achieve different shades, for whisky making, it is the knowledge and understanding of a specific palette of colours from the cask which is the starting point.  From here we can craft the desired character and specific colour of the final whisky”.

Commenting on the collaboration, Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute, said “As the rainbow’s most complex colour, purple naturally felt like the ideal shade to highlight the equally complex process involved in The Macallan’s whisky making.  This new vibrant shade developed for Edition No.5, brings to life the exquisite combination of distinctive natural hues found in this whisky”.

Only American oak casks were handpicked for this single malt, primarily for their colour in order to deliver a whisky with a wonderfully full flavour. The result is beautiful sunlit barley colour that is accompanied by an intriguingly intense flavour profile that hosts sweet notes of natural cask-caramel and fresh fruit combined with oak spices.

The Macallan No. 5 – Official Tasting Notes:

 The character of Edition No.5 is defined by a complex flavour profile:

Aroma – vanilla and toffee merged with spices of oak, nutmeg and ginger with hints of lemon basil and pear

Palate – Buttery caramel moves into poached peaches and ripe pear

Finish – Sweetness with light, lingering oak spices

The Macallan Edition No.5 is bottled at 48.5% ABV and is available at specialist retailers, selected on-trade accounts, The Macallan boutique at Heathrow Terminal 5 and The Macallan Distillery & Visitor Experience  with a RRP of £92.




Whiskey Blogger
Whiskey Blogger

Stuart McNamara (@WhiskeyBlogger) is an international Whiskey Blogger who edits several International Whisk(e)y and Whiskey Tourism sites including IrishWhiskey.com and WhiskeyBlogger.com. He is Chair of the Irish Craft And Artisan Distilleries Association (ICADA) and is an elected member of the National Council of ISME, the Irish SME Association. He is also the creator and editor of International Irish Whiskey Day which is celebrated on 3/3 or 3rd March each year and had a global social media reach in 2021 of over 20 Million. He is a Director of Portmagee Whiskey and has also acted as both a brand and product development consultant to several other Irish Whiskey and other spirits producers.

International Whiskey Reviews by Irish Whiskey Blogger Stuart McNamara