Not generally accessible
The Macallan has gained super cult status, rising from relative obscurity to become the third best-selling malt in the world. The Macallan distillery is set in wooded land, which runs down to the river Spey.
Alexander Reid officially founded the distillery in 1824 at Craigellachie, a fording point on the River Spey where drovers would rest on their journey. The Macallan takes its name from the old parish of the same name - the ruins of the church and its graveyard lie within the distillery grounds. The illustration on the malt’s label is of Easter Elchies House. Now the distillery office, this 300-year-old house was the home of the Kemps, the last family to own the distillery.
Macallan has been marketed as having ‘Six Pillars of Spiritual Wisdom’ which govern its production.
1/ Only a lightly peated old barley variety called Golden Promise is used. New varieties (such as Prisma) can give farmers a yield of three tonnes per acre compared to only two for Golden Promise. Hence The Macallan have contracts with farmers to grow this uneconomical grain. Only 5,000 tons of Golden Promise is grown in Scotland each year and 4,500 tons of that is used by The Macallan.
2/ A combination of four separate yeasts are used in stainless steel washbacks to ensure a perfect fermentation.
3/ Macallan use the smallest (direct-fired) copper pot stills in Speyside – these are featured on the back of Scotland’s £10 note.
4/ Only the very heart of the run goes forward during the second distillation. Macallan take 15% of the run – other distilleries can take as much as 24%.
5/ Macallan is the only single malt to be matured exclusively in Sherry casks. Dry Oloroso Sherry casks are favoured. The distillery buys them in Spain and leases them to Sherry producers, giving them total control over the quality of the casks that will eventually be used to give the distinctive Sherry character to the whisky. The casks are imported as whole barrels with a small amount of Sherry left in each to prevent the wood from drying out during the journey.
6/ No caramel is added to Macallan to ensure colour consistency.
Taste: Fresh apricot, orange and lemon lead a medley of flavours: vanilla, toffee, fudge and cinnamon, garnished with oaky hints.
Released June 2013 as one of a twin set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation, this one of the two 350ml bottles was matured in American oak sherry seasoned casks while the other was matured in Spanish oak sherry casks. Disappointingly neither carries an age statement.
The whisky used in this celebratory single malt was drawn from ex-sherry casks on 6th February, the date of the Queen's ascension, and the first week of June, traditionally when Jubilees are celebrated. Bottled at 52% alc./vol., in line with the Queen's accession year.
Released in September 2012 as the first expression in Macallan's 1824 Series it is aged in 100% sherry seasoned oak casks and bottled with a natural golden hue attained without the addition of caramel colouring.
Released June 2013 as one of a twin set to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation, this one of the two 350ml bottles was matured in Spanish oak sherry seasoned casks while the other was matured in American oak sherry casks. Disappointingly neither carries an age statement.
Part of Macallan’s 1824 Series, each named after the whisky’s natural colour after aging: Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby – so the brand argues, reflecting each whisky’s style better than an age statement. Amber is matured in refill & first-fill Spanish & American oak sherry seasoned casks.