The Macallan whisky brand logo.

Macallan Distillery

  • Scotland

Modern bridge architecture under wispy clouds in daylight.

Name: Macallan Distillery
Address: Easter Elchies, Aberlour AB38 9RX, United Kingdom
Phone: +441340318000

History of Macallan Distillery

A Historic Journey: The Macallan Distillery

The Macallan Distillery, a revered name in the realm of single malt whisky, boasts a storied history that dates back to its establishment in 1824 by Alexander Reid. Situated in the picturesque Speyside region of Scotland, near the meandering River Spey, it began its journey as a modest operation within a farmer’s barn. However, under Reid’s visionary guidance, it rapidly evolved and expanded.

A New Era Begins

In 1868, a significant turning point occurred when James Stuart assumed the lease and embarked on the ambitious task of rebuilding the distillery. This marked the dawn of a new era for The Macallan, setting the stage for its future growth and transformation.

Edrington’s Influence

In 1999, The 1887 Company, a strategic partnership between Edrington and William Grant & Sons, acquired Highland Distillers, solidifying Edrington as the major stakeholder in Macallan. This partnership brought a fresh impetus to the distillery’s development.

The Distinctive Whisky-Making Process

Central to Macallan’s identity is its unique whisky-making process, notably the maturation in ‘bespoke’ sherry oak casks. These meticulously crafted casks are fashioned from specially selected European oak trees and coopered to Macallan’s exacting standards in Jerez, Spain.

Innovation in Cask Maturation

While Macallan initially exclusively used ex-sherry casks for maturation, a pivotal moment arrived in 2004 with the introduction of the Fine Oak series. This innovation saw the incorporation of American oak and ex-bourbon casks, resulting in a whisky with a lighter and sweeter malt character.

Edrington’s Influence

Under Edrington’s guidance, Macallan’s reputation for crafting luxurious and collectible whiskies soared. Special releases like the ‘Fine & Rare’ collection, spanning vintages from 1926 to 1989, and exclusive bottlings in exquisite Lalique crystal decanters further elevated the brand’s prestige.

The Modern Age

In 2013, Edrington unveiled plans for a groundbreaking £100 million distillery and visitors’ centre, inaugurated in May 2018. This state-of-the-art facility, characterised by its distinctive subterranean design, is equipped with 36 stills and can produce a remarkable 15 million litres of alcohol annually while steadfastly adhering to traditional whisky production methods using small stills.

A Whisky Portfolio of Excellence

The Macallan’s core range of whiskies includes the Sherry Oak, Double Cask, Triple Cask Matured, and the Rare Cask, each showcasing the brand’s commitment to quality and craftsmanship. They also offer exclusive travel retail selections such as The Quest Collection and The Concept Series, alongside limited releases like The Red Collection and The Macallan Genesis Limited Edition.

Awards Won by Macallan Distillery

Here’s a list of some notable awards the distillery has received:

Ultimate Spirits Challenge (New York): The Macallan’s exclusive travel retail lines from ‘The 1824 Collection’ received high distinctions. The Whisky Maker’s Edition scored 94 out of 100, while The Macallan Select Oak and The Macallan Estate Reserve both scored 95, earning them the ‘extraordinary, ultimate recommendation’ in their category.

Spirits Business Awards 2009: The Macallan Estate Reserve was awarded the highest honour of ‘Grand Master’, with The Macallan Select Oak and The Macallan Whisky Maker’s Edition both winning Gold.

Institute of Civil Engineers Saltire Awards: The Macallan distillery and visitor experience won the prestigious Building of the Year title. This award was given for the innovative £140 million Speyside building, showcasing civil engineering excellence.

Structural Timber Awards: The Macallan received the ‘Winner of Winners’ title, further underscoring the architectural and engineering achievement of its distillery building.

Macallan Distillery Tour Information and Experience

Experience The Macallan Distillery

The Macallan Distillery offers an exclusive whisky experience that exudes luxury. This comprehensive tour includes a private transfer service from Glasgow, ensuring a seamless and comfortable journey.

Discover The Heritage

The tour begins with a visit to The Macallan Heritage Experience, a captivating opportunity to delve deep into the rich history of this esteemed distillery. Guests can expect an informative and engaging exploration of the distillery’s heritage.

Indulge in Whisky Tasting

Following the heritage experience, guests are treated to a guided whisky tasting in the iconic Cave Privée. Here, connoisseurs and newcomers alike can savour the distinct flavours and aromas of The Macallan’s exceptional whiskies, guided by knowledgeable experts.

Fuel Up with a Scottish Breakfast

To make the journey even more delightful, a traditional Scottish breakfast is provided, complete with hot beverages, en route to the distillery. This ensures that guests are well-fueled for the exciting day ahead.

Embrace the Scenic Beauty

Moreover, the tour offers the opportunity to relish the breathtaking Scottish scenery, enhancing the overall experience with its natural beauty.

Plan Your Visit

It’s worth noting that this exclusive tour spans a duration of 12 hours and is priced at £1200.00. Alternatively, for a group of 6 passengers, the cost is £200.00 per person. Entrance fees are included in this package, making it a comprehensive and worthwhile experience for whisky enthusiasts and curious travelers alike.

Flask & Barrel Review of Macallan Distillery

As a whisky collector on numerous distillery tours, my visit to The Macallan Distillery was a standout experience. The tour was impeccably organized, providing an in-depth look into the distillery’s rich history and production methods.

The tasting session, featuring a selection of their finest whiskies, was a highlight. The guides were knowledgeable and passionate, making the tour educational and enjoyable. The distillery’s architectural design is stunning, blending modernity with tradition.

Given the wide array of whiskies, my only quibble was the limited time in the tasting room. Overall, I’d rate it a solid 4.7 out of 5 – a must-visit for any whisky enthusiast.

What To Do Nearby Macallan Distillery

Visit Other Speyside Distilleries: Speyside is known for its high concentration of whisky distilleries. A tour of neighbouring distilleries like Aberlour, Glenfiddich, or Glenlivet offers a deeper dive into Scotch whisky.

Explore Craigellachie Village: This small, picturesque village is just a short drive from The Macallan. It’s known for its charming atmosphere and local eateries.

Walking Trails: The Speyside region is laced with scenic walking trails, including those along the River Spey, perfect for nature lovers.

Speyside Cooperage: Learn about the art of barrel-making, crucial for whisky production, at this unique cooperage.

Visit Historic Castles: The region is home to several historic castles like Ballindalloch and Cawdor, offering a glimpse into Scotland’s past.

Enjoy Local Cuisine: The area boasts a variety of dining options that offer traditional Scottish fare, perfect for pairing with a dram of whisky.

Fishing on the River Spey: Renowned for salmon fishing, the River Spey offers a serene fishing experience for enthusiasts.

Visit Elgin: This nearby town features a stunning cathedral, museums, and shopping opportunities.

Golfing: Speyside is home to several world-class golf courses, offering a different kind of leisure activity.

Attend Local Festivals: Depending on the time of your visit, local festivals and events, including those celebrating whisky, are a great way to immerse in local culture.

Frequently Asked Questions

What restaurants are near Macallan Distillery?

Macallan Brasserie: It has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. Their address is in the vicinity of The Macallan Estate, FQPV+FQ, Charlestown of Aberlour, Aberlour AB38 9RX, United Kingdom.

Toots: This restaurant has a rating of 4.4 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them for reservations at +441340832200. It is located at 51 New Street.

The Gather’n Café: With a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps, this restaurant offers a variety of dining options. For bookings, you can contact them at +441340881749. The address is The Gather’n Cafe, 89 High St, Aberlour AB38 9QB, United Kingdom.

What hotels are near Macallan Distillery?

The Aberlour Hotel: It has a rating of 4.3 stars on Google Maps. For reservations, you can reach out to them on their phone at +441340871287. Their address is in Aberlour.

Highlander Inn: This hotel has a rating of 4.6 stars on Google Maps. You can contact them for reservations at +441340881446. It is located in the vicinity of The Macallan Estate.

Craigellachie Lodge: With a rating of 4.9 stars on Google Maps, this hotel offers a cosy Victorian guesthouse experience. For bookings, you can contact them at +441340881900. The lodge is situated near The Macallan Estate at Craigellachie Lodge, Edward Ave, Craigellachie, Aberlour AB38 9ST, United Kingdom.