The Macallan is a scotch whisky distillery that produces in Craigellachie, Scotland on the Macallan Estate located just above the river Spey. Also, the distillery was founded in 1824 by a school teacher and barley farmer, Alexander Reid.
Well-known scotch gets its name from the Gaelic word that means fertile ground, "magh," and "Ellan" after Monk St. Fillan, who associated with the church that stood on The Macallan Estate until 1400. The area was known as "Maghellan," and many farmers had been making whisky in the area for centuries.
The scotch whiskies finish off in several different ways, such as:
They also offer a Masters Decanter Series, The Quest Collection, and Fine and Rare Collection.
The Masters Decanter Series offers four different increasingly complex whiskies. Each whisky is aged in sherry seasoned oak casks and bring a different flavor and complexity to the table.
The Reflexion is a bold and full-bodied single malt. The No. 6 is a rich and elegant single malt. M is a complex single malt, and The M Black takes M's complexity and adds some smoke to its character.
Quest Collection provides flavorful insight to Macallan's search for the finest oak and casks. The whiskeys in this series highlight the seasoned sherry oak, natural colors, and flavors that are in all of the distillery’s whiskiess.
The Quest Collection is made up of The Quest, The Lumina, The Terra, and The Enigma; each has their distinct character.
Quest has citrus fruit flavors and sweet vanilla oak. The Lumina has a bold and zesty flavor with notes of vanilla, wood spice and ginger. Terra has a complex character with hints of toffee, dried fruit, and wood spice, and The Enigma has a rich and intense single malt in mature oak and hints of cinnamon, vanilla, and dried fruit.
The Fine and Rare collection offers a wide variety of whiskeys from 1926, 1939, 1949, 1952, 1960, 1974, 1988, and 1990. Each whiskey offers its unique character, but still maintains The Macallan's distinct flavors.
The scotch whisky is in retail stores and shops around the world. They also allow customers to order online where they ship directly from the distillery to a limited number of countries throughout the world.
What Makes The Macallan Unique?
The scotch whisky begins with the basics of water, yeast, and barley, which is what separates the whisky from the rest is its copper stills and oak casks.
A unique feature in the distillery is the "curiously small stills" used to provide the rich, fruity and full-bodied flavors known in the popular scotch whisky. There are 24 copper stills with a unique size and shape that allows for maximum contact with the copper; each still holds 3,900 liters.
Before entering into the oak casks, the finest cut is selected from the stills. This cut is a small portion taken from the stills. The cut gets transferred to the hand-picked oak casks for a period to mature. This selection is one of the finest in the industry. The cut is also the starting point for all Macallan whiskies.
Distillery has a Master of Wood, someone who hand-picks oak from the United States, Spain, and Scotland to make the casks the whisky matures in. Casks must also meet specifications of The Master Distiller.
The unmistakable quality of character and flavor of scotch whisky is dependent on the oak cask and the color is 100% dependent on the wood they matured in. This dependency on the wood is what makes the Master of Wood so important, so they can ensure consistency, even though the wood from each tree is different.
The classic The Macallan oak is the Sherry Oak. This provides a rich, fruity, full-bodied flavor. Further characterization gives spice and mature oak flavors. This depth of flavor deepens with the age of the whisky, from 12 to 40 years.
The scotch whisky has also introduced the Triple Cask Matured whiskey. During this process, the whiskey ages in European Oak and American oak, both seasoned with sherry, and an American Bourbon cask. This provides complexity to the whisky's character.
Visit the Distillery
The Macallan offers a unique experience to visit the distillery and partake in a guided tour of the estate. This tour provides details in the process and production of the single malt whisky and the people who make it.
After the guided tour, you will be able to enjoy a tasting of select scotch whiskies. You guide through the tasting by reviewing the color, smell and flavor of the different whiskies. The distillery recommends booking a tour in advance so that your tour is guaranteed and children 14 and older may attend the tour.
You may also visit the shop located on the estate. The Macallan will have limited releases available in the shops, as well as their traditional scotch whiskies.
The whisky price varies depending on what you want to purchase. The most affordable bottle is the 12-year-old at $53.99. Next is The Double Cask 12 year at $59.99. Fine Oak 15 Year Triple Cask is $84.99, and the Fine Oak 18 Year Triple Cask is $219.99.
The Macallan is also known for their rare whiskeys that put them near the top of the list when it comes to most expensive bottles of whiskey. Average price for The Lalique 62-Year-Old Single Malt is $30,439. The Fine and Rare Vintage average cost are $18,699. And The Select Reserve is $15,269.
How Does The Macallan Compare?
The most popular scotch whisky is Johnnie Walker. Johnnie Walker has been the top-selling scotch whisky since the 1950s. Johnnie Walker 18 year is a warm amber color and smells of stone fruit and toffee. The flavor has vanilla, almonds, and citrus with a bit of toffee and a citrus finish.
The Glenlivet 12 year has a golden color with smooth fruity and vanilla flavors. It has a vanilla aroma with floral notes. It finishes off with a hint of spice with almonds and oak.
Glenfiddich 15 year Solera Reserve has a rose gold appearance. It smells like vanilla and honey with some dark berries. It has a full-bodied sherry oak and cinnamon flavor with a rich and sweet finish.
The Balvenie 14-year-old Caribbean Cask has a bright gold color. It smells tropical and fruity. It tastes like vanilla, oak, and spices with a tropical fruity finish.
The Ardbeg An Oa is a golden honey hue. It has a smoky toffee smell with some peach and banana on the nose as well. It has a smooth and sweet chocolatey flavor with some toffee, aniseed, and orange. It has a lingering floral finish with some subtle smoke and toffee.
The Aberlour A'bunadh is a deep amber colored scotch whisky. It smells of allspice and citrus with notes of sherry. Also tastes of citrus with dried fruit and ginger, dark chocolate and some sherry and oak. The finish is a lingering and robust, just as full-bodied as the initial taste.
Is The Macallan the Way to Go?
The Macallan is a scotch whisky that seems to do it right. The well-known brand doesn't hide their distilling process or shy away from how particular they are about their oak casks. They specifically hire a Master of Wood to choose the oak for the casks. They also spend more per cask than any other distillery.
The company also has a Master Whisky Maker who is in charge of ensuring consistent color in every bottle. Every bit of color that is in whisky produced by The Macallan comes strictly from the oak casks it matures in, making the Master Whisky Maker's job a little more unpredictable.
They have been producing since 1824 and distributed their products worldwide. They are also known to have finer, more expensive whiskeys, which makes them a bit more elite than some competitors.
The Macallan still produces an excellent quality scotch whisky for those that can't shell out thousands on a single bottle, and they do it with the same quality and care as if it were a rare whiskey. The company clearly states that all of their whisky begins in the same way, it's the cask and time that make the difference in the end.
Much like The Macallan, the Aberlour A'bunadh doesn't have color added to it. This whiskey also matures in sherry oak, like The Macallan. The scotch whisky The Macallan made that was most similar to the A'bunadh has been discontinued, so the rare bottles still on shelves go for 5 or 6 times as much as the A'bunadh.
While both the A'bunadh and The Macallan have sherry matured whisky, because of the rarity of The Macallan's remaining bottles, the A'bunadh is the more affordable and better option out of the two, in this case.
Macallan, at its most affordable, is still more than some competitors, the product is still worth the price. Knowing that Macallan takes pride in every bottle they produce, and does not take shortcuts helps make choosing their scotch whisky a no-brainer.
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