His work also sold well at Sotheby’s New York, going for $437,500.
If you’ve ever seen the cover of The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, then you’re familiar with the work of Sir Peter Blake. The English artist, who has been Royal academician since 1981, but was knighted in 2002 for his services to art.
The 89-year-old brings this collage-style pop art now into a collaboration with The Macallan, the latest of the many he’s had with the whisky brand over the decades.
The collection, called Anecdotes of Ages, includes a total of 13 limited-edition bottles, one of which, called the Giant and the Fish, was recently on display at a special immersive experience at the K11 Musea in Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong pop-up includes a replica of the Blake’s studio, a display of his artwork for the project, and a stunning barley field installation created using thousands of tiny lights inside a mirrored room, which then resembles those found on the distillery’s Scottish estate.
Art as a Storyteller
A celebration of “the timeless pairing of exceptional whisky and exceptional art,” each 54-year-old single-malt Scotch whisky, selected by lead whisky maker Sara Burgess, comes with Blake’s collage labels that tell parts of the distillery’s two-century history.
The Giant and The Fish, for instance, shows a collage of pictures including a fish, the River Spey, and the brand’s owner from 1892 to 1909, Roderick Kemp, who often fished in the area just beside the distillery as a kid.
Kemp would later be remembered for maturing the whisky in European sherry oak casks that the brand is now known for.
“[It is] Inspired by the history, community, and natural landscape of The Macallan Estate, set high above Scotland’s mighty River Spey,” the distillery writes in an Instagram post. “The Anecdotes of Ages whisky possesses richly complex flavour notes [and] is reflective of its sherried oak cask-kept resting place for over fifty years.”
The whisky dating back to 1967 is also not a coincidence as it was the year Blake’s collage-style pop art “transcended from art into popular culture.”
The collaboration also includes a limited edition bottle featuring a replica label of the 13th original bottle—now kept at The Macallan Archives—containing the same rare whisky as The Anecdotes of Ages Collection: Down to Work. About 322 will be available worldwide.
Value of Rarity
The Down to Work replica bottles are currently only available in Hong Kong. At K11 Musea’s The Macallan Room, a bottle sells for a whopping $650,000.
One of the 13 original bottles called A New Era of Advertising, meanwhile, sold at Sotheby’s New York for $437,500. The auction was in recognition of the long partnership between Blake and the whisky brand, and was for the benefit of the Guggenheim Museum.
Only two more bottles from the original collection are currently in Asia—one is in Singapore and the other in Shanghai.
Apart from the collection, a specially created single malt whisky called An Estate, A Community, and A Distillery has also been created.
“[It is] a unique expression inspired by Sir Peter’s exploration of The Macallan Estate and Sarah’s appreciation of his creative process,” the brand shares in an Instagram post.
This, too, along with a custom box designed by Blake is now available at The Macallan Room as well as select outlets. It reportedly retails for no less than $1,200 per bottle.
Banner Photo from @peterblakeartist on IG