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5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Macallan Coronation

In 1953, many millions around the globe gathered in front of the television to watch the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 60 years later, The Macallan Distillery released a special commemorative bottling, celebrating the anniversary of the historic event. This bottle is known as The Macallan Coronation. Combining the Royal family with the pinnacle of luxury scotch whisky, this release has become highly collectible amongst both whisky connoisseurs and Royal family fans alike. 

So, what was (and is) so special about this Macallan Royal bottling? Here are five things you didn’t know about The Macallan Coronation and the event that inspired its creation. 

If you would like your very own Macallan Coronation, you can buy one on The Whiskey Wash Shop for just $4,354.  

1. Elizabeth II’s coronation took place one year and four months after her accession to the throne 

Suppose you follow the Royal family or indeed lived in the UK in the last 12 years. In that case, you will notice that Elizabeth II’s jubilees (diamond and platinum) were celebrated in 2012 and 2022 respectively. By contrast, The Macallan Coronation was released in 2013. 

This is because Queen Elizabeth’s coronation took place 482 days after the death of her father, George VI. When George died on 6th February 1952, Elizabeth automatically became queen. However, her coronation took place on 2nd June 1953. The lengthy delay between accession and coronation was due, in part, to the unexpected death of the king, who was just 56 when he died. 

In addition, coronations take time, logistics, and money to plan. Many were concerned about the optics of spending a huge amount of money on the coronation when rationing was still in place as a consequence of World War II. Nevertheless, Elizabeth was coronated in Westminster Abbey at an approximate cost of £1.57 million. 

2. The coronation drew a TV audience of 27 million in the UK alone 

Elizabeth II’s accession and coronation, although unexpected, marked a new era for the people of the United Kingdom. This was epitomized by the televising of the coronation. The first such service to be broadcast, the coronation drew approximately 27 million UK viewers. This is particularly impressive when you consider that the population of the UK was only 36 million at the time.

Additionally, only approximately 350,000 homes had televisions. Neighbors, friends, and family all gathered around the nearest TV to watch the procession, sometimes only one TV to a street! 

3. The two whiskies represent the late monarch at two stages in her life 

The two whiskies in The Macallan Coronation set.

The Macallan Coronation is comprised of two 35cl bottles of scotch whisky, representing Her Majesty at two opposing points during her reign. 

The lighter whisky was matured in American oak sherry casks and bottled at 55.7% ABV. A lively and vibrant expression, this whisky represents Queen Elizabeth II at the beginning of her reign – young and vibrant – and the ushering in of a new Elizabethan era. 

Conversely, the darker (and seemingly older, given the color of the whisky) expression represents the Queen decades into her reign. Matured exclusively in Spanish sherry oak casks, the deep and complex whisky emulates the wisdom and maturity that come with 60 years on the throne. 

Each bottle displays a portrait of Elizabeth II. The first bottle features an image taken by legendary photographer, Sir Cecil Beaton, who is renowned for his portraits of the Royal family. In this image, Elizabeth is 27 years old on the day of her coronation. 

The second image, taken by photographer Julian Calder, was taken in 2004 and shows the Queen as most of us remember her – wise, steadfast, and mature. 

4. The Macallan Art Director, the late David Holmes, designed the regal packaging 

The late David Holmes.

The packaging for The Macallan Coronation, with its striking reds and royal blues, was designed by Macallan’s acclaimed Art Director, David Holmes. 

Holmes began his long-time career with Macallan in the late 1970s. Over the ensuing decades he and his creative partner, Nick Salaman, produced hundreds of advertisements for The Macallan. Some of the most famous include the adverts that inspired The Macallan Archival Series and appeared in the back of national newspapers such as The Times

David Holmes has also worked on some of The Macallan’s most famous bottlings, including The Macallan Royal Marriage 1981, The Macallan Royal Marriage 2011, The Macallan Handwritten Labels, The Macallan Diamond Jubilee, and The Macallan Robert Burns. 

The Macallan Coronation is presented in a striking red box with royal blue and gold detailing, inspired by the Windsor Coat of Arms. Inside the box is a royal blue booklet explaining the national context surrounding Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953. 

Prior to his death in 2018, Holmes had been roughly designing a Macallan bottle to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III. This design was reinvigorated and brought to life by Mark Littler Ltd in The Macallan 27 Year Old Coronation Reserve.

5. Only 1,953 sets of The Macallan Coronation were created 

In a fitting tribute to Her Majesty, The Macallan produced a limited number of sets, representing the year that Elizabeth II was crowned: 1953. 

As such, there is a very small number of The Macallan Coronation sets available on the market. Since its release in 2013, it has only appeared at auction 545 times. The current record hammer price stands at £6,100, achieved in September 2022. 

Also in September 2022, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth mourned the loss of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who died at the age of 96 on September 8th. 

BONUS: You can own The Macallan Coronation now! 

Given the extremely limited nature of this release, combined with stunning packaging and packed with symbolism, any Macallan collector or Royal family fan would be ecstatic to add The Macallan Coronation to their collection. 

You can purchase The Macallan Coronation via The Whiskey Wash Shop now for just $4,354, a significantly lower price than elsewhere on the market. 

Beth Squires

Beth joined Mark Littler Ltd full-time in October 2020 following the completion of her university degree. Since then she has gained wide-ranging knowledge of all things whisk(e)y, and has written extensively for both company and external publications. Beth is passionate about industry innovation, marketing, and sustainability. With a particular affinity for independently bottled rare scotch, Beth is also a whisky bottle investment specialist.

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