Macallan is one of the most famous and recognisable Scotch whisky names in the world. From its extensive range of premium single malts to the award-winning design of its new eco-friendly distillery, this Speyside giant is a whisky brand with prestige and class. One of Scotland's most recognisable exports, Macallan has grown to become an icon of whisky that features in everyday life and popular culture alike.
What does The Macallan Whisky taste like? Macallan whiskies tend to be full-bodied with an oily mouthfeel, which makes them appear pleasantly smooth. On the nose, sweet notes of honey, cream, buttercream or toffee are often found. The frequent use of sherry casks leaves fruit and wine notes.
Production at Macallan is on a huge scale. The new state-of-the-art distillery, designed by architects Roger Harvester & Co, commenced distillation in late 2017. The figures are massive, starting with 15 million litres of spirit distilled per year. Macallan has the biggest mash tun in Speyside with a 17-tonne capacity. They currently operate 40 mashes per week. There is a designated space next to it to install a replica and double capacity.
There are 21 stainless steel washbacks with a fermentation time of 60 hours. Macallan has an incredible 36 stills. Twelve wash stills produce a first distillation which is then divided into two. Each half is distilled through one of the 24 spirit stills. Macallan also has an expanse of warehousing, including traditional dunnage style and numerous huge modern palletised buildings.
Macallan was founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid. It is located on the Easter Elchies estate in the heart of Speyside, overlooking the village of Craigellachie and the River Spey. The distillery was originally named Elchies, not becoming Macallan until 1892. Then Roderick Kemp became the owner and he significantly expanded Macallan's facilities and production. The Roderick Kemp Trust was formed upon his death in 1909.
The Trust was changed to a private limited company, the Macallan-Glenlivet plc, in the 1960s with stocks floated on the London Stock Exchange. This fuelled another major increase in production at the distillery. At that stage, the most spirit was used for blending contracts, as was the case for most single malt. Macallan featured heavily in popular brands such as Cutty Sark and Famous Grouse. It was not promoted as a single malt brand until the late 1970s.
Part of the early strategy was to conquer the American market. This proved successful and Macallan remains extremely popular there today. The current owners are The Edrington Group, which first became involved with Macallan in 1999. They were part of a consortium, including William Grant & Sons and Suntory, who purchased the distillery for over £600 million.
The growth of Macallan has seen the brand feature in popular culture. This includes collaborations with a diverse range of high-end lifestyle icons including brands, designers, photographers and chefs. However, arguably the most notable example is Macallan's inclusion in the James Bond movie franchise. Skyfall (2012) famously featured a bottle of Macallan 1962. This was a reference to the franchise's 50th anniversary and was distilled the year of the first Bond movie release - Dr.No (1962).