Macallan Distillery

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2015-06-26 10:38:05

The Macallan Distillery is located in Craigellachie in the Speyside region, Banffshire, Scotland.

It is one of the largest and most famous distilleries in Scotland with a capacity of 6 million litres a year.

Macallan whisky is currently the third best selling single malt in the UK and the fifth best selling in the world. It lies in second place for worldwide duty free sales, behind only Glenfiddich.

The Macallan 1926 was, for a period, “The most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold.”

Notable sales

A bottle of the Macallan 1926 was a star Christie’s attraction in 2007. It was projected to fetch $30,000, but went for $54,000.

It is the most expensive bottle of Scotch whisky ever sold by the auction house.

The Macallan-55-Year-old in Lalique Crystal Decanter sold for $18,000 at a Christie’s auction in November 2010.

History of the distillery

In 1824, Alexander Reid obtained a license to open a distillery in Craigellachie, Scotland, which later became the Macallan distillery. (It also became legitimate in 1824.) At this time it was called the Elchies Distillery.

Reid entered into partnership with partnership with James Priest and James Davidson in 1847. They owned the distillery together until 1868 when it was bought by James Stuart. The distillery was sold again in 1892 to Roderick Kemp who renovated it and changed the name of the distillery to Macallan-Glenlivet.

Highland Distilleries bought Macallan together with Suntory in 1996 in a hostile takeover. Since then, Highland has been acquired by The 1887 Company which is a joint venture between the Edrington Group and Wm Grant.

Distilling processes

There are a number of other things that make Macallan different from most other distilleries:

  • They are one of the last remaining distilleries to use a strain of barley called 'Golden Promise' that is regarded as being the perfect barley for distilling whisky
  • The only other distillery to still regularly use this barley is Benromach
  • Macallan also use two types of yeast during fermentation, compared to just one type at most other distilleries
  • For maturation, the whisky goes into European oak casks that have previously been made to exact specifications and filled with sherry by the Gonzalez Byass Bodega in Jerez, Spain. This practice is rare as sherry casks are 10 times as expensive as a bourbon cask, which is what the majority of the industry use for maturation.
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