The Macallan Distilleries of Speyside in the Highlands produces the Rolls Royce among single malt whiskies. It is a doggedly traditional distillery with its unusually small hand-made copper stills. The distillers insist on a sherry aging, always in dry oloroso casks which are shipped unbroken from Spain. Others rebuild broken casks but Macallan uses the original.
The distillery is located on a hill overlooking the Spey in Craigellachie on a site that has been distilling whisky since the 1700s. The first licensed still at Macallan came up in 1824. It has been managed by the same family since 1892. They continue to hold major shares in the company that went public in 1968.
This influx of money helped them to build warehouses to increase the quantity of whisky being matured and extend the stills. Thus they could increase production without increasing the size of the stills. Today the distillery is a large complex discreetly tucked away from sight. Surrounded by impeccably tended lawns and ornamental trees, a new split-level still and huge warehouse have joined the aging buildings.
Up until that time, the whisky was used in blends. In the 1960s Macallan Distillery bottled its own Single Malt. This was available only in Speyside and most of the whisky was still used in blends. In 1980 The Macallan was launched all over Britain. Today there are several ranges of this unique whisky, depending on the aging in the oak cask.
The packaging uses an image of the nearby Easter Elchies House has stood on the banks of the Spey for three hundred years. Macallan Visitor Centre is on the Easter Elchies Estate. The estate around Easter Elchies grows Golden Promise Barley, one of the vital ingredients for the whisky.
Sherry Oak range is matured exclusively in sherry casks and includes The Macallan flagship 10 Years Old. This has a rich, smooth and well-rounded flavor with a slight sweetness and touch of sherry and wood. Its deep color is natural. Others in the range are 12, 18, 25 year old and Elegancia, a duty free release matured in sherry casks, which have previously contained both Fino and Oloroso sherries.
The Macallan Fine Oak range is a new range matured in European and American oak casks which have previously held Sherry or Bourbon. It is available as 10, 12, 15, 18, 21, 25 and 30year old whisky.
The Macallan also has a Fine and Rare limited edition collection of different vintages. The Macallan Woodland Estate was a part of a major woodland regeneration program involving over 4,000 indigenous trees. The special package included an oak sapling and a limited edition bottle of The Macallan12-year-old Sherry Oak, hand-labeled and numbered at the distillery. One thousand new oak saplings were planted in the grounds of Easter Elchies House in recognition of the role that oak plays in the maturation of this legendary malt.