December 13, 2016

Literally translated from Gaelic means ‘a fertile piece of ground of St. Fillan’

Founded by Alexander Reid, a barley farmer and school teacher in 1824, The Macallan distillery was one of the first in Scotland to be legally licensed. Since then they have been obsessed with quality. From its very own farmland used exclusively to grow barley to make their whiskies to their quality controls of its wood from forest to cask, The Macallan Estate is truly an exceptional distillery.

The Macallan Estate; their spiritual home 

In the past, barleys were grown by farmers on the lands around The Macallan. Distillery. However, by winter, with little activity on the farm, the surplus barley would then be fermented and distilled into whisky. To add to that, the cool, wet weather provided plenty of cooling water for the stills. The whisky can be drunk straight out of the stills or stored for consumption or sold in the market.

The Six Pillars are the foundation of the character and values that transformed Macallan into who they are today.

  • Spiritual Home 
  • Curiously Small Stills 
  • Finest Cut 
  • Exceptional Oak Casks 
  • Natural Colour 
  • The Macallan itself

The Macallan Estate covers 390 acres (158 hectares) of land, some of these acres are used to produce an exclusive variety of barley to make The Macallan. One acre of land can provide nearly two and a half tonnes of barley which can produce around 1,800 bottles of The Macallan.

Next, people often wondered about Macallan’s small spirit stills, they are even the smallest on Speyside. Their unique size and shape give the spirit maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the ‘new make’ spirit, providing those rich, fruity, full-bodied flavours; the very characteristics of The Macallan.

Macallan's Curiously Small Stills 
Industrial Copper Stills 
£10 Scotland banknote

These stills are so famous that they have appeared on the back of a Bank of Scotland £10 banknote!

The Master of Spirit

Water used in the production of The Macallan is drawn from springs deep beneath the ground on The Macallan estate, close to the confluence of the Ringorm Burn and the river Spey. This spring water gushes up through the world’s oldest known geological rocks, known as Precambrian rocks. The water is soft and pure, with ideal levels of minerals and salts for the yeast to ferment the sugary solution (‘wort’). It is added both at the mashing stage as well as later on, to reduce the alcohol strength of The Macallan prior to bottling.

Barley is the only cereal used to make The Macallan. It is sown in the spring and harvested in the early autumn, growing well on the light, on soils of The Macallan estate. A percentage of these barley used in the malting process is called Minstrel; exclusively grown by farmers for the use of The Macallan only. This further contributes to the characteristically rich, oily character of the ‘new make’ spirit.

Only around 16% of the spirit is collected from the spirit stalls at an exceptionally slow boil rate. It will then be filled into a cask to mature. This percentage of spirits collected is the best of the best, the lowest in the industry. But this gives The Macallan a full-body richness to it, the clear colourless spirit collected has an average 69.8% of alcohol.

Macallan’s Oak Maturation Cask

Macallan’s Master of Wood, Stuart MacPherson

The Macallan’s oak maturation casks are another significant contributor to their outstanding quality, natural colours and distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan. This is no surprise since The Macallan spends more per cask than any other distillery in sourcing, crafting, seasoning and caring for its casks. Primary aromas and flavours derived from:

  • Spanish oak sherry cask: chocolate orange, dried fruits and spices
  • American oak sherry cask: sweet citrus, light spice, vanilla, light oak
  • American oak bourbon barrels: sweet citrus, coconut, oaky

Even the Spanish and American oak sherry seasoned cask are made from the woods from the forest found in The Macallan Estate. Everything is clearly controlled by The Macallan from wood to cask, delivering rich and natural diversity to its collection.

Clearly, the obsession with quality did pay off with its whiskies winning prestige awards like the Queen’s Award for Enterprise (for the sixth time) as well as accolades and praises from experts and connoisseurs worldwide.

Do check out our range of Macallan Collection!

 Source: The Macallan Distillery Official Website