Celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2024, Macallan is among the most iconic distilleries in the world and has produced some of the most sought-after whiskies for collectors. Its rich character and long-standing relationship with Spain's sherry producers have helped to build a reputation for exceptional malt whiskies, both in its core expressions and its rarest releases.
Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Macallan has built its enviable reputation by focusing on quality – and a host of high-profile editions and silver screen tie-ins have boosted this distillery’s reputation even further.
The Macallan distillery
Located on a 390-acre estate in the Scottish Highlands near Craigellachie, The Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 and was one of the first Scottish distilleries to be legally licensed.
Using water from springs beneath its estate, The Macallan makes single malt whiskies using the smallest commercial stills in Speyside. After distillation it uses just 16% of the spirit collected from these stills for filling into casks, which it says is responsible for the full-bodied richness of this spirit – not to mention one of the smallest cuts of spirit in the industry. Speaking of those casks, The Macallan invests a lot of time and effort into sourcing and making these, so much so that it is the only Scotch distiller with a dedicated Master of Wood: Stuart MacPherson.
Macallan and the silver screen
Look closely and you’ll see bottles of Macallan in many of your favourite films and TV shows. In Suits, for example, Harvey Spector drinks Macallan 18, a preference he shares with James Bond in the film Spectre. The latter’s boss M, meanwhile, perhaps mindful of the MI6 budget, can be been spotted drinking Macallan 12 in Skyfall.
The Macallan and Lalique
The Macallan has a strong association with French luxury glassmaker Lalique. Its Macallan in Lalique collaborations put the distiller’s whiskies, particularly those that are old and rare, in exquisite handmade crystal decanters. They are as collectible as they are beautiful: Macallan Lalique 50 Year Old broke auction records in April 2017 when it was sold for more than £65,210.
Character and Style of Macallan
- Fruit Cake
- Dried Fruit
The Macallan's 10 spirit stills are the smallest in Speyside. Their unique size and shape gives the spirit maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the new-make spirit with rich, fruity, full-bodied flavours. These stills are so famous that they appear on the back of a Bank of Scotland £10 note!
'Macallan' is most likely derived from two Gaelic words, magh meaning a fertile piece of ground and ellen, meaning 'of St Fillan', an Irish monk who travelled widely in Scotland spreading Christianity during the eighth century.
The Macallan was founded by Alexander Reid, a barley farmer and teacher who leased eight acres of land from the Earl of Seafield to establish the distillery.
Which Macallan should you choose?
Any Macallan dram is worthwhile. For those new to the distiller, Macallan Gold, a blend of nine- to 15-year-old casks, Macallan 12 Year Old Fine Oak or the approachable Macallan 10 are all good starting points.
If you want to explore further, Macallan Rare Cask offers seductive notes of dark honey and dried fruit thanks to its complex blend of 16 different sherry-cask styles. Or take a look at why the Macallan Double Cask range has become an icon of the whisky world.
You can also learn more about the rest of the Macallan M series on our blog.
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