This is the ne plus ultra in Speyside malt whiskies and has set a standard to which many aspire but few succeed.
Sadly, when Alfred Barnard visited the distillery in 1886 he was so unimpressed by it that he dismissed it in seven lines of what was a very heavy tome. Or perhaps he was simply shown the door in the mistaken belief that he was just another carpetbagger from the South!
This was in sharp contrast to the warmth of the welcome I received when I retraced Barnard’s footsteps 100 years later to be the guest of two of Scotland’s whisky legends – Willie Phillips as managing director and Sandy Curle, the distiller-in- chief at Macallan since 1972.
Despite Barnard’s neglect, Macallan has a rich history and much of it is recorded in some detail. It is also reflected in how the company has projected itself, not least by representing some of their excellent products against a suitable historic backdrop. Legitimate from 1824 onwards but almost certainly with a darker earlier history, Macallan is a wonderful fusion of tradition and modernity. The latter is reflected in the decision to build a completely new distillery, which went into production in 2017. We all wait with baited breath to see if it will be a match for its forerunner and it will be a long wait given Macallan’s policy on maturation. However, there is plenty of maturing stock to ensure that interest in, and devotion to the Macallan make does not waiver in the meantime.