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Founded in 1824, The Macallan was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed. Since then, The Macallan has built a reputation as one of the world's truly great single malt whiskies
The Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid, a barley farmer and school teacher. Farmers had been making whisky on their farms in the area for centuries, distilling their surplus barley during the quieter winter months. From its founding by Alexander Reid, through the subsequent owners of The Macallan distillery in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and into the present century, The Macallan has been recognised for the quality of its product above all else. This is the foundation for the worldwide fame of The Macallan.
Farmers have been growing barley on the lands around The Macallan distillery for centuries. As now, the barley would be sown in the spring, growing through the summer, and harvested in the early autumn. In the winter, with little activity on the farm, the barley would be fermented and distilled into whisky. The cold, wet weather provided plenty of cooling water for the stills. The whisky would be drunk new, straight from the still. Any surplus was stored for consumption in the summer or transported to more distant markets. In the spring, the cycle would begin again.
The Macallan’s curiously small spirit stills are the smallest on Speyside. Their unique size and shape give the spirit maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the ‘new make’ spirit and provide those rich, fruity, full-bodied flavours so characteristic of The Macallan. There are fourteen of these curiously small stills, crafted from copper, each holding an initial ‘charge’ of 3,900 litres. These stills are so famous that they have appeared on the back of a Bank of Scotland £10 banknote!
All colour in The Macallan whiskies, bottled by the distillery, is natural. Only the interaction of the ‘new make’ spirit with the oak of the maturation casks delivers the rich and natural diversity of colour throughout the range, from light oak through to darkest mahogany. These natural colours remain ‘fixed’, as opposed to artificial colour which fades relatively quickly in bright sunlight. Great skill is required by the Whisky Maker to achieve consistency of natural colour from bottling to bottling.