Alexander Reid founded The Macallan distillery in 1824. Initially the production was carried out in the pre-existing farm buildings of Macallan farm under the name of Elchie’s distillery, Elchie being the name of a nearby town. The name remained until 1980, when the decision was made to call the distillery The Macallan.
The ownership history of The Macallan is rather convoluted at parts. In its early history the distillery changed hands many times, until Roderick Kemp took control in 1892 and brought with him some much-needed stability. He had previous experience as co-owner of Talisker and The Macallan stayed under his families control for more than a hundred years. In 1994 it was sold to a consortium of the Japanese company Suntory and the Highland Distillers Group. Only five years later in 1999, it was sold again and became a part of the Edrington Group who currently remain the owners.
The most notable date in The Macallans history is arguably 1980, when the name was changed as well as the distilleries direction. They decided to focus on producing high quality single malt as opposed to whisky used for blending and they also turned their attention to providing exclusive whiskies to the duty free/travel retail market. Many experts feared it was a huge risk and a potential mistake, but they were proven wrong. The Macallan is currently the 3rd best-selling whisky in the UK and 5th in the world and also claims 2nd spot for sales in worldwide duty-free outlets, behind Glenfiddich.
At 6 million litres a year capacity, The Macallan is not only one of Scotland’s most famous distilleries but also one of its largest. The distillery has 21 stills which is a high number comparatively, however they are uniquely designed in a short and fat manner. The style of their stills produces the creamy rich spirit that The Macallan is renowned for. They also use two yeasts during fermentation, compared to most distilleries using only one. The additional yeast increases the amount of sugar that is turned into alcohol and therefore adds some of that extra creaminess. The Macallan are also one of the only remaining distilleries to utilise the strain of barley called ‘Golden Promise’. This particular strain was used across the industry for many years and is said to be the best barley for whisky distilling, but due to smaller yields, increased costs and cheaper alternatives, Golden Promise was largely abandoned in the 1960’s. Only The Macallan and Benromach still use Golden Promise barley today. Maturation of Macallan whisky is also different to most. European oak sherry casks are used despite being considerably more expensive than the standard bourbon casks. A certain range of their products called ‘fine oak’ were matured initially in sherry casks for some time then transferred over to bourbon casks to finish.
Single malt produced by The Macallan is sought after by collectors and investors alike. Old or special edition bottlings often fetch top prices at auction and casks of the special whisky tend to cost the most but achieve the highest returns for investors. However, the whisky offers far more than just financial gain and is therefore also of high interest to connoisseurs. The fruity, aromatic, creamy dram from Speyside often receives whisky market awards and accolades year in year out. The Macallan 10 years old is one of the best-selling bottles of whisky worldwide however there is so much more that The Macallan product range offers. For example, they have ageless whiskies from the ‘1824’ series. These whiskies are simply named after their colour and are called The Macallan Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby. Across the series a huge variety of flavours are present, ranging from vanilla, oranges, raisins and cinnamon to ginger, nutmeg, figs and dates.
If you would like to find out more about The Macallan whisky and the possibility of owning some yourself, please get in touch with us by filling out the form below!