Ken Grier has been working around the clock lately, having just unveiled The Macallan’s Masters of Photography III to a packed crowd at the Island Shangri-La the night before. Now, the Director of Malts at The Edrington Group is enjoying a contemplative moment before our interview, comfortably at home in a dapper suit and largely oblivious to the hustle and bustle around him. The only prop missing from the scene perhaps, is a dram of The Macallan 18 on the rocks, “without question” Grier’s favorite drink of all time.
With MOP IV due for a 2013 release date, we catch up with the charismatic Scot at the sultry Chin Chin Bar in Tsimshatsui, as he talks about the collaboration with Annie Leibovitz, the Asian palate and his definition of luxury.
The Macallan has collaborated with the likes of Ralph Steadman and Peter Blake long before the Masters of Photography was born so what prompted you to choose photography as the focus of this series?
Photography transcends culture; people can enjoy it regardless of what language they speak. Second, the value of photography as collectible art is slowly being recognized. Photography is also becoming culturally very relevant – something we observed during our event last night, when people were clamouring to take a photo with Annie or Kevin (Mckidd) to share on social media platforms. As such, photography is very much a part of the social transactions that people make around the world.
How did the collaboration with Annie and Kevin come about?
With Annie, it was pretty much a mutual encounter. She was great, unsurprisingly down to earth and chatty. After getting the green light from her, we got together everything within a couple of weeks and started shooting last September. With Kevin, we found that his rugged look really brought out the depth of The Macallan; he’s very suave and charming, Annie even described him as a “young Robert Mitchum”!