With Apple doubling down on augmented reality (AR) support in its latest generation of iPhones, more and more luxury brands are exploring the technology as a way to connect with their customers in unique new ways. Macallan, for example, has not only debuted an art exhibition that utilizes the Microsoft Hololens AR system—a bleeding-edge self-contained holographic system—it also released a new iPhone app that provides a similar experience at home.
Touring the country this fall—with stops in New York, Chicago, Miami, Houston, and San Francisco—the Macallan Gallery 12 is part of a campaign to familiarize the distillery’s fans with two unique expressions of its 12 Year Old Scotch: one matured completely in European oak sherry casks and the other split between time spent aging in American and European oak casks. Wearing a Hololens headset, visitors wander through interactive artworks inspired by the Macallan whisky-making process—from barrel sourcing to aging—and the unique qualities of the 12 Year Old expressions. The Hololens enhancements enhance the works by adding visuals like mesmerizing, swirling light patterns or floating oak leaves and citrus fruits. Of course, the events also include plenty of opportunity to taste the two 12-year-old single malts first hand.
For those who can’t make it to one of the in-person events, the distillery has released the Macallan 12 AR Experience. Currently only available for iPhones, the app is free to download—although you will need a bottle of either the Double Cask 12 or the Sherry Cask 12 to use it. Once the app has been launched and the bottle’s position properly aligned on the screen, you can take an educational trip through the production and consumption of the spirit. AR animations corresponding to the topic at hand populate the screen and a narrator guides you through each section. While listening, you can move around the bottle and get different angles on the animations you are seeing in real space.
While the app is probably only good for a one-time viewing and a few subsequent launches to impress your friends, it is great that the Macallan is embracing AR as a means to tell their story in a wholly new way. As the technology becomes more and more ubiquitous, it’s nice to see high-end brands are helping lead the charge.