The Macallan distillery
|Number of stills||10 wash
|The Macallan Fine Oak|
Sherry (both American and European oak)
|The Macallan Sherry Oak|
10-year-old (cask strength)
|Cask type(s)||Sherry (mostly European oak)|
|The 1824 Collection|
Whiskey Maker's Edition
|The 1824 Series|
The Macallan distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery in Craigellachie, Moray. The Macallan Distillers Ltd, is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Edrington Group which purchased the brand from Highland Distillers in 1999.
In 2009, The Herald reported that Macallan was "the world’s third largest-selling single malt (behind Glenfiddich and Glenlivet) with over 500,000 cases a year, and second largest by value". The Scotsman published a quote from Ken Grier on 16 August 2009, stating: "We have now overcome Glenfiddich to move into the second biggest selling single malt by volume behind Glenlivet". In 2011, Edrington Group reported that prior-year sales of The Macallan were up 8% to over 700,000 cases and the BBC also reported that an office was being opened in New York to continue growth in the American market.
Since the Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 came into force labelling of bottles of Scotch whisky has been regulated. Under the regulations, the "Speyside" designation can only be used by distilleries in certain wards (but not Craigellachie) in the traditional Speyside region. Despite this, whisky authorities (among them the writer Michael Jackson) typically consider The Macallan a notable Speyside Single Malt. Currently produced bottles of The Macallan indicate it is a Highland Single Malt, while the website for the brand indicates that The Macallan’s stills are the "smallest on Speyside."
Originally, The Macallan was matured only in oak sherry casks brought to the distillery from Jerez, Spain. Beginning in 2004, The Macallan introduced a new main product, the Fine Oak series, with the whisky mellowed in bourbon oak casks as well as sherry ones.
The distillery produces a number of expressions in its core Sherry Oak series, the most generally available being the 12-year-old, although the 18-year-old is widely distributed, alongside a 10-year-old cask strength expression at 58% ABV. Expensive 25- and 30-year-old versions can also be found.
More recently, starting in 2004, The Macallan for the first time started to offer single malt expressions vatted with whisky matured in used casks other than ex–sherry casks as part of the Fine Oak range. Macallan also markets special scotches in duty-free shops at airports such as the 1824 Collection.
Many rare, special releases and other small production run bottlings also exist.
Publicity and marketing
In 2001, Michael Martin selected The Macallan 10 Years Old as the official Scotch of the Speaker of the House of Commons, even though Martin himself had given up drinking alcohol. He did smell whiskies to make his selection. This selection continued the tradition of the Speaker designating an official single malt.
In 2003, The Macallan started laboratory tests to determine if some antique whiskies purchased for their collection were forgeries, perhaps generated by a dealer with mafia ties. In 2004, it was revealed that laboratory testing had determined at least 11 bottles in its antique whisky collection were fakes. Although The Macallan had tested the paper of the labels and were satisfied the whiskies were genuine, additional tests on the contents of some bottles revealed whisky believed to be only 10 years old. David Cox, director of fine and rare whiskies for The Macallan, said, "As a result of these tests from now on no antique bottles from the antique collection held at the distillery will be made available for sale."
In 2010, a bottle of The Macallan 64-year-old single malt whisky in a one-of-a-kind "Lalique: Cire Perdue" crystal decanter was sold for $460,000 at an auction at Sotheby's in New York City. All proceeds from the sale were donated to charity: water, an organization that helps provide access to clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. In 2012, The Macallan received the Guinness World Record for the most expensive whisky ever sold at auction.
The brand has collaborated with some of the world's top photographers including Rankin, Albert Watson and Annie Leibovitz in The Masters of Photography series, creating a strong link between the mastery of making The Macallan and the mastery of photography. Each year a limited edition whisky or range of whiskies is launched in collaboration with a photographer.
- English, Shirley. "Macallan begins testing for fake vintage malt." The Times (UK). 3 November 2003
- Bain, Simon. "Macallan predicts ‘strong year’ as improved efficiency sends turnover up by £9m" The Herald. 2009-10-24 retrieved from <http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/corporate-sme/macallan-predicts-strong-year-as-improved-efficiency-sends-turnover-up-by-9m-1.926295> on 9 February 2011
- Lyons, William. "Macallan has a taste for global domination". The Scotsman. 2009-08-16. retrieved from <http://business.scotsman.com/fooddrinkagriculture/Macallan-has-a-taste-for.5558155.jp> on 9 February 2011.
- BBC. "Whisky firm Edrington reports profits surge". retrieved from <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-14019355> on 5 July 2011
- <http://www.themacallan.com/the-story/>(page retrieved 9 October 2013)
- Macallan Fine Oak (page retrieved 24 May 2006).
- Watson, Roland. "Macallan whisky is teetotal Speaker's brand". The Times (UK). 2 March 2001.
- "Collector's Market Rocked by Fake Macallan Discovery". Whisky Magazine. 2004-05-17. retrieved from <http://www.whiskymag.com/news/1389.html> on 9 February 2011.
- Rosenberg, Rebecca (9 December 2007). "Scotch Whisky". New York Post. Retrieved 26 December 2011.