When The Macallan and Bentley Motors first announced an exclusive partnership earlier this year, the venture instantly made sense. After all, the two iconic brands have a longstanding and deep mastery of their respective fields, and they both foster an unwavering dedication to the highest level of craftsmanship. That shared value represents one key pillar of the partnership, while the second—a commitment to increased sustainability—conveys a noteworthy area where both brands can benefit from each other’s learnings and experiences.
The third uniting pillar of the partnership, a focus on innovation, was the most enigmatic aspect of the partnership when it was first announced. How could an exemplary single malt Scotch whisky producer influence the innovative capabilities of a revered luxury motorcar company? Conversely, what could a luxury motorcar company teach a single malt Scotch whisky brand that might elevate its own level of innovation? They are both valid questions.
As we’ve quickly learned, the partnership has the potential to produce numerous advancements in innovation for both entities. Just the preliminary conversations that have taken place between key individuals at both brands have sparked thought-provoking ideas about innovation and how each brand can further its efforts in that regard. “We come from very different worlds. Bentley is a world of solid. We are the world of liquid,” says Jaume Ferras, the creative director at The Macallan. “But when you have the same set of values—and when you see differences—it’s what excites you because you are guaranteed that you’re going to learn.”
In time, a series of exclusive product releases will be born from this partnership. Initially, those concepts will take the form of a unique single malt Scotch whisky that reflects the extraordinary journey that both brands are taking together. Although development is already underway, details about the whisky and its projected release will be revealed in due time.
“We’re working directly with their designers,” says Brett Boydell, head of design collaborations at Bentley Motors. “We’re working on a project together and pushing each other to forget boundaries. Just explore. Innovate. Generate something really conceptual. I think we’ll assist [each other] in the way we develop other products, as well.”
Innovation has long been a focal point for The Macallan, and the whisky brand recently furthered that reach by unveiling The Harmony Collection, an innovative new series of single malts that deliver distinctive flavors linked to new advancements in sustainability. Take the first release, The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao, for example. It’s an homage to decadent chocolate that whisky maker Polly Logan created by selecting specific casks maturing at The Macallan Estate. Those barrels held whisky that delivered indulgent chocolate notes—flavors that Logan explored on an immersive visit with master chocolatiers in Girona, Spain. On that visit, Logan also worked with acclaimed pastry chef Jordi Roca, the youngest of three brothers, all of whom own and work at El Celler de Can Roca, a three-Michelin-star restaurant (and who have partnered with The Macallan for many years). To create an innovative package reflective of the whisky’s genesis, The Macallan sourced natural by-products in the chocolate-making process—mainly discarded husks from cacao pods—and crafted a beautiful presentation box that is fully recyclable and biodegradable.
Bentley Motors, by comparison, has made strides toward innovating materials that bolster the brand’s sustainability efforts. The creation of such materials is no easy task—rigorous testing is required, especially since the brand sets incredibly high standards for quality and longevity. (After all, 84 percent of all Bentley cars ever built are still on the road.) Currently, Bentley Motors is testing veneers made from recycled paper, locally salvaged railway sleepers, and aviation-influenced ceramic inlays. A vegan leather made from grape skins, stalks, and seeds that have been discarded during wine production is another of the many alternative materials that the automaker’s R&D team is analyzing. Boydell feels confident that similar efforts of innovation will be born from the company’s partnership with The Macallan.
“The Macallan has a different approach from the way we produce cars and the car industry. They’re coming from a very different perspective,” he acknowledges. “But I think that fresh insight with shared values and a shared vision of the future is what makes this partnership very powerful.”
Ferras agrees. And as he looks toward the future, he’s excited not only about what the partnership means for both brands’ ability to innovate, but for what the collaboration can do for all facets of the companies’ production and business operations. “The future is very promising, very exciting,” he says. “Bentley and The Macallan are going to keep applying their highest levels of craftsmanship and mastery, creating beautiful products and beautiful experiences for our consumers, which are going to be at the center of every single thing that we do.”
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