Macallan, el Rolls Royce de los maltas - DISEVIL

Macallan, the Rolls Royce of malts

Macallan whiskey is part of Scotland's heritage, one of the most appreciated Scotch malts for any single malt whiskey lover. Known as the "Rolls Royce among malts", it is one of the best-known single malt whiskey brands in the world. global level.

And when we like something, we also want to know its origins. We delve into its distillery and its history.

The beginnings of Macallan

Alexander Reid obtained one of the new licenses issued after the passage of the Excise Act of 1823. He was a school teacher and barley farmer, who distilled whiskey for his own use, just as the local farmers did who made whiskey on their Speyside farms, during the winter months, when farming was less active.

With the license in his hands he leased the house and eight acres from the Earl of Seafield to establish the distillery which he founded in 1824 in a wooden shed with two stills.

The original name was “Maghellan”. This term comes from the Gaelic word “magh”, meaning fertile land, and “Ellan”, a reference to the Irish monk St. Fillan, who brought Christianity to Scotland in the 8th century, although it was known as the Elchies distillery. a well-known castle farm.

With the help of his family and servants, Reid worked on both the farm and the distillery. In winter they worked in the distillery and in summer on the farm. After the elimination of the tax on glass in 1845, they decided to bottle part of their production.

Alexander Reid died in 1847, his son having taken over the management of the distillery a year earlier.

Barrel aging

Before 1850, whiskey was aged in barrels following the illegal procedure introduced by piracy in the 17th century. At that time, many merchants decided to buy sherry barrels in the freight ports to store whiskey in them, trying to circumvent the new tax with which the British Parliament had levied on whiskey with the aim of financing the army.

In this way, they tried to pass the merchandise through Jerez when they went from one side of the country to the other illegally selling this distillate.

But from the mid-19th century, Sherry exports began to fill British ports with barrels that had contained Finos, Oloroso, Amontillados and Pedro Ximénez Wines, and soon the ports began to accumulate hundreds of empty casks.

The Scots decided to take advantage of them to store their whiskeys and soon discovered that these casks, which had previously contained Sherry, provided their whiskeys with unmatched texture, silkiness, aroma, flavor and color. If Macallan was already of excellent quality thanks to its excellent barley, this process made it much more desirable.

Macallan's takeoff

This was what Roderick Kemp, who had previously owned Talisker (although he never owned both distilleries at the same time), made him decide to buy the property and the distillery in 1892, giving it the name by which we all know it today: The Macallan .

Macallan had passed through different owners after the death of Alexander Reid in 1848 and Roderick Kemp set out to make the excellent quality of The Macallan whiskey known to the entire world.

Macallan began to age its whiskeys solely in sherry casks purchased in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain).

Roderick Kemp knew how to run a distillery, how to create fabulous whiskey (something Macallan was already doing, but he certainly improved it with his experience) and how to market his whiskey in Scotland and abroad.

While Macallan later became famous for its exceptional single malts, at this stage the excellent spirit it was producing was mainly used for blending.

The distillery has continually expanded from its original wooden shed with two stills. In 1954 this was increased to five stills and then more significantly in 1965 when a new still was built with seven stills. This process continued throughout the 1970s reaching 21 stills in 1975.

Macallan has always been an important malt for the blend. It was not until the early 1980s, faced with a downturn in the market, that Macallan decided to focus more on the new single malt category.

Macallan remained under family control until 1994, when it was sold to a consortium of Japanese company Suntory and Highland Distillers Group. In 1999 the distillery became part of the Edrington Group, who are the current owners.

The special ingredients

The special ingredients are only the first of a multitude of factors that contribute to the extraordinary and characteristic flavor, natural color without added caramel coloring, a common and legal technique in the Scottish industry, and distinctive aroma of Macallan single malt whiskey : the quality and low-nitrogen, high-starch variety of barley, planted in spring and harvested in early fall; the soft, pure spring water drawn from the depths of Macallan's 390-acre estate; and the exceptional oak used for the barrels where the whiskey matures for many years.

Wood and maturation

Under Edrington's direction, it became the first distillery to create so-called 'bespoke' barrels: selecting specific trees (predominantly northern Spain, but also some American oak), and then coopering Sherry, Tevasa, which specifies the duration and nature of the drying, the type of barrel, the Oloroso used for the barrels and the duration of that process, have made Macallan single malt whiskey , one of the most desired.

The average age of the trees felled in Spain is 110 years, each with enough good wood for four 500-litre barrels, but the Edrington Group is planting trees faster than they are felling them, which is a positive for the environment.

Once cut, the oak is left to air dry for two years, then toasted and seasoned for two years with sherry before being sent whole to Scotland for filling and maturation.

Macallan, James Macallan

Macallan single malt whiskey appears in several James Bond films, especially SPECTER and SKYFALL.

In Skyfall they uncork a Macallan 1962 , a 50-year-old Scotch whiskey . Such an exclusive bottle with the label signed by Daniel Craig himself (James Bond), Javier Bardem (The Villain) and Bénérice Marlohe (Bond Girl), was auctioned for £9,635.

Macallan, the years do not pass

In 2012 The Macallan launched the 1824 Series as its flagship range in Europe. Labeled as Macallan Gold , Macallan Amber , Macallan Sienna and Macallan Ruby breaking with the protocol of age statement whiskeys . This line has subsequently been replaced by Macallan Sherry Oak , Macallan Double Cask and Macallan Triple Cask Matured as the new main range in the European market, as well as special collections such as Macallan Quest and Macallan Lumina .

The new Macallan

Six years ago, Edrington realized that further expansion was needed, they broke ground on a new distillery.

The new Macallan distillery and visitor center was inaugurated in June 2018 and has been designed by Rogers Stirk Harbor + Partners, internationally renowned architects.

It blends organically into the striking landscape of Speyside, Scotland. It is located in the heart of The Macallan Estate , just 400 meters from the initial Easter Elchies House distillery.
It combines the legacy of whiskey making with the innovative vision that is part of the essence of The Macallan.

Although this new distillery is equipped with the latest technologies , The Macallan continues to be produced in exactly the same way; making use of the same water and raw materials and the same unusually small stills.

Macallan continues to break the mold and make history with its first female master whiskey maker, Kirsteen Campbell , the first time a woman has held the whiskey production role in the distillery's 195-year history.

Macallan gift box

What is clear with this small summary of the history of Macallan whiskey is that surely in a few years, we will continue writing about it, but now what we can do best is Enjoy it or give it as a gift.

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