Situated on a ridge above the banks of the River Spey, the Easter Elchies House has been the spiritual home of The Macallan for over three centuries. In 1820, Alexander Reid began renting the home from Sir Lewis Grant of Grant. Reid was a farmer, and soon after he sowed the fields surrounding the home with barley, Reid established the first licensed distillery on the estate, which he named Macallan after an ancient church that had been destroyed by fire during the 15th century. In the winter — when there was little activity on the farm — Reid would ferment and distill his excess grains into whisky, which was often drunk straight from the still or sold to travelers passing through the town.
Today, the Macallan Estate encompasses 370 acres, 95 of which are devoted to the production of the Macallan Estate’s Minstrel barley (a single acre produces about 2.5 tons of barley each year, enough to yield 1,800 bottles of The Macallan). In addition, the distillery contracts with farmers to purchase barley that is low in nitrogen and high in starch, resulting in a rich and oily whisky.
After the barley is harvested in late August and early September, it is malted before being mashed in one of The Macallan’s two mash tuns, a process that takes between four and eight hours. Then, the barley is fermented with a specially cultured yeast before being distilled twice through The Macallan’s copper-pot stills. The copper comprising the stills acts as a catalyst, and enhances the formation of sweet esters while minimizing impurities such as sulphur. In addition, the curiously small stills — some of “the smallest stills within the Scotch whisky industry,” according to production manager Alexander Tweedie — produce a whisky with a heavy, oily flavor.
Following distillation, The Macallan distillers remove the heads and tails of the whisky and collect approximately 16% of the spirit to fill into casks for maturation. This “cut,” which is among the highest of any Scottish distillery, results in a more full-bodied and and rich whisky.
Macallan’s 6 Pillars of Excellence
Easter Elchies House, built in 1700, lies at the heart of The Macallan estate
Built in 1700 Easter Elchies House is a fine example of a Highland manor house. The Macallan estate lies in an area of great natural beauty; its scale and diversity is unique among distilleries and is managed in harmony with the beautiful landscape. The estate covers 390 acres (158 hectares), of which some 90 acres are sown in the spring with our own exclusive Minstrel barley variety to make The Macallan. Sheep and highland cattle are at home here and woodland, beetle banks and areas of unharvested crop and unmown grassland attract biodiversity. The river Spey, one of Scotland’s most famous salmon rivers, borders the estate to the south and south-east.
Curiously Small Stills
Contribute to the distinctively rich, fruity ‘new make’ spirit of The Macallan
The Macallan’s curiously small spirit stills are the smallest on Speyside. Their unique size and shape give the spirit maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the ‘new make’ spirit and provide the viscosity and rich, fruity, full-bodied flavours so characteristic of The Macallan. There are fourteen of these curiously small stills, crafted from copper, each holding an initial ‘charge’ of 3,900 litres. These stills are so famous that they have appeared on the back of a Bank of Scotland £10 banknote!
We take only 16% of the final distillation from the spirit stills to fill into our oak casks. This is the best of the best.
This small portion, or ‘cut’, is extraordinarily selective and one of the smallest in the industry. It is a prime reason for the full-bodied richness of The Macallan ‘new make’ spirit. The clear, colourless spirit is collected from the stills at an average 69.8% alcohol by volume. This distinctly robust and characterful ‘new make’ spirit is the starting point for all Macallan.
Exceptional Oak Casks
The Macallan spends more on sourcing, building, seasoning and caring for its casks than any other single malt whisky
The Macallan’s oak casks are the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colours and distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan. In fact 80% of the flavour of a whisky is derived from the cask it is matured in. Because of this, The Macallan spends more per cask than any other distillery in sourcing, crafting, seasoning and caring for its casks. Spanish sherry seasoned oak casks deliver flavours and aromas of chocolate orange, dried fruits and spices; American sherry seasoned oak casks primarily provide sweet citrus, light spice, vanilla and light oak flavours and aromas; American bourbon seasoned oak barrels give flavours and aromas of sweet citrus, coconut and oak.
The rich range of colours in The Macallan whiskies is drawn only from the wood of our exceptional oak casks
All colour in The Macallan whiskies, bottled by the distillery, is natural. Only the interaction of the ‘new make’ spirit with the oak of the maturation casks delivers the rich and natural diversity of colour throughout the range, from light oak through to darkest mahogany. These natural colours remain ‘fixed’, as opposed to artificial colour which fades relatively quickly in bright sunlight. Great skill is required by the Whisky Maker to achieve consistency of natural colour from bottling to bottling.
The peerless spirit – one of the world’s greatest whiskies
From humble beginnings in 1824, The Macallan has grown from a small local enterprise to global recognition, based on a constant and determined attention to quality. The Whisky Maker and his team nose thousands of samples every year to create The Macallan expressions recognised around the world. This exacting task, together with the ‘marrying’ of different casks for many of the expressions, is the last step in creating this, one of the world’s truly great whiskies.
Macallan 12 Year Scotch Sherry Finish
Nose: Vanilla with a hint of ginger, dried fruits, sherry sweetness and wood smoke
Palate: Deliciously smooth, rich dried fruits and sherry balanced with wood smoke and spice
Finish: Sweet toffee and dried fruits, with wood smoke and spice
Macallan Double Cask Scotch
The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask is the distillery’s first new release with an age statement in three years, bucking the trend of non-age statement Scotch whiskies that has grown over the past few years. Filling the gap between the Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Oak and Fine Oak from years ago, this new release is the best of both both worlds, matured in both American and European oak casks that were previously used to age sherry.
The Macallan 12 Year Old Double Cask has a festive aroma of fruitcake and match heads — a bit lighter on the nose than its Sherry Oak sibling. A palate of raisins, brazil nuts, and honey follows, leading to a citrusy floral finish.
Both of these delicious whiskeys are available for $64.99 for a 750ml bottle. Come in and pick up a bottle to discover one of the finest scotch whiskeys made today.