GreatDrams is one man's mission to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining.

Register

A password will be e-mailed to you.

Ever wondered what made The Macallan so special it came the drink of choice for none other than James Bond? Well here’s the answer.

The distillery itself dates back to 1824, and was one of the first in the region to legally distill spirit for the purpose of ageing and creating whisky.

The Macallan is located in Speyside and has still so famous they have featured on the back of a £10 bank note.

Nowadays The Macallan is seen as one of the most luxurious whiskies on the market, and even refer to themselves as The Peerless Spirit in recognition of their status and famous fans, both fictional and aspirational.

A surprisingly large annual output for what is perceived to be a luxury and exclusive brand.

the macallan

photo credit: chriscom via photopin cc

The Macallan’s current distillery outputs is around 9.5 million litres of spirit a year from its 14 “curiously small spirit stills” making it the third largest producer of spirit in Scotland, behind Glenfiddich and Glenlivet.

In relative terms, the biggest distillery on Islay for output is Laphroaig at 1.3 million litres per annum.

This is due to be bolstered in a few years time now a £100million investment in the complete redevelopment of the distillery complex has been approved by their local council, and will eventually product 15 million litres of spirit per year.

Cautious optimism

Whilst all this investment means great things for the brand, the product and the capacity, I was speaking with one of their distillers a few weeks ago I can tell you that they are both excited and also quite nervous.

These feelings are completely warranted however, and so often present in the whisky industry, as new distilleries mean one thing; you have to recreate an already winning formula with new stills and new processes.

Not compromising on The Macallan’s quality will be key to making sure this redevelopment a roaring success.

Nowhere else is this more evident than amongst the casks and coopers at their disposal.

Having visited the Clyde Cooperage recently as a guest of the Eddington Group, who own Macallan amongst others, I got to see first hand how high their specification is for the quality of the casks they use to mature their spirit in.

There is a sense of pride in what they do and that each cask for The Macallan has to be perfect in order for it to be filled at all.

The European Oak used for their casks is first filled with sherry by the Gonzalez Byass Bodega in Jerez, Spain. Quite rare for the whisky industry as these casks cost typically five to ten times as the bourbon ones used by the majority of of their competitors.

Eventually, when the whisky is at the exact right taste profile and composition, it will be transferred to bourbon casks but this is at the total discretion of the master distiller and his team who nose thousands of casks per year (apparently around 600 per day) to ensure quality is maintained.

Macallan is currently the third best selling single malt in the UK and the fifth best selling in the world.

No wonder James Bond opts for the 1962 Macallan 50 Year Old as his potential final whisky but at over £1,000 a bottle there are alternatives in the range that you might like to try instead.

Although if you are feeling especially flush, why not splash out on this beauty?

Their signature release is the Macallan M, retailing at around £3,500 and comes in a Lalique crystal decanter for the ultimate whisky collector’s shelf.

One Response

  1. odysseusunbound@gmail.com'
    Joel

    “Not compromising on The Macallan’s quality will be key to making sure this redevelopment a roaring success.”

    I feel as though Macallan has already compromised a great deal on quality with the incredibly underwhelming and criminally overpriced 1824 (colour) series. They aren’t bad, but at each price point, I’ve tried many better whiskies.

    Macallan Gold sells here for $75 CAD, Amber sells for $110, Sienna is $190 and Ruby isn’t even available. I’ve tried the trio, and thankfully they were from someone else’s bottle(s), because I would NOT feel as though I got my money’s worth from any of those. Even the newer Macallan 12 Double Cask is just ok, yet it is still way overpriced at about $100 CAD. To make matters worse, there are a large number of Macallan Double Cask bottles which show signs of sulphur taint. Not something I’m willing to take a chance on.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: