A new single malt scotch whisky from legendary car designer Ian Callum

A new single malt scotch whisky from legendary car designer Ian Callum
Courtesy of Callum‍

Limited to 230 bottles, Callum 529 is a collaboration with Annandale Distillery.

Callum 529 by Annandale is perhaps the most serendipitous collaboration between whiskey distilleries and design studios to date. It is the creative effort of co-founder David Thomson and renowned designer Ian Callum CBE, who distilled this single cask single-malt scotch at Annandale in Scotland's Lowland region.

For Aston Martin, Callum designed the Vanquish, Vantage, and DB9, while for Jaguar he designed the F-Type, F-Pace, XJ, and I-Pace electric vehicles. Callum collaborates with partners in motorsports, consumer automotive, art, and fashion as design director of his own studio.

After nearly 50 years of separation, the two reunited to work on the spirit release after meeting as teenagers. This collaboration with Annandale fits Callum's concept of taking on projects that challenge, excite, tell a story, and extend across a wide range of life experiences. It is a passion project rooted in my time with David Thomson in school, where whiskey is engineered to create a unique and fun beverage.

Courtesy of Callum

With a blue ceramic decanter and natural cork, the bottle design takes an unexpected turn on the familiar, creating an unusual acoustic note when removed. The goal was to break with tradition while still preserving the whisky's character through a neutral material, according to Callum. However, this presented some challenges.

“With opaque ceramic, you don't have the luxury of refraction [like glass],” says Callum. You have to play with the surface of the ceramic. In order for a design to have an impact, all elements must be taken into account and brought to life on the exterior."

To achieve this, Callum used a diagonal slice to separate organic lines from contrasting textures. There are so many intricacies in the experience that have all been carefully crafted and are all incredibly significant that the pop-up sound is as intentional as the deconstructed orange tartan seal.

The whiskey inside the bottle should be of the same quality as the exterior, according to Thomson. There is no age statement on the unpeated whiskey, but Thomson says that is an important detail that is often overlooked. It was distilled in Annandale's two small copper pot stills and aged in ex-bourbon casks. “There is an ongoing debate about whether whiskey is better as it gets older, but that isn’t the case,” Thomson explains.

It is more important that the whiskey reaches sensory maturity and offers the highest quality possible than reaching a certain age. Cask 529 has reached its peak, which is why it has been selected; it is ready to be enjoyed. Immediacy is also important when it comes to acquiring the whiskey, as only 230 bottles are available and each costs $438.

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