The world’s most beloved single-malt, The Macallan, has just opened the doors to their cutting-edge distillery and visitors centre. If you’re not impressed yet, you will be when you see the pictures. We got a first look earlier this month, and it absolutely took our breath away – but you’ll have to wait for the next issue of #legend to hear all about that.
Costing a reported £140 million (about HK$1,459,337,874), the new distillery and visitor experience is six years in the making, and the highlight of parent-company Edrington’s £500 million investment in the beloved brand.
So, what actually goes into a multi-million dollar distillery? Well, like everything The Macallan produces, excellence. For starters it was designed by the internationally acclaimed architect, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners – the team behind London’s Millennium Dome and Las Arenas in Barcelona. What they’ve created on the historic The Macallan estate is nothing short of extraordinary. They built the striking piece of contemporary architecture into the slope of the land, maximising the usable space while minimising the visual disruption to the idyllic Speyside landscape. It’s good for the environment and the local economy too – almost 95 per cent of the energy consumed will be from renewable resources, and it's created 60 new jobs for local residents (in addition to the 400 specialists needed to build it).
To really bring the majesty of whisky production to life, they used natural materials like local stone and timber, giving it an organic feel. The undulating roof, which, from a distance appears to be just a continuation of the areas rolling hills, is the true pièce de résistance. One of the most complicated timber structures in the world, it’s comprised of 1,800 single beams, 2,500 roof elements and 380,000 individual components, almost all of which are distinct.
Just like with whisky, it’s what’s inside that really counts. The new distillery and visitor’s centre lives up to the prestigious The Macallan name, transporting you to the Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory of whisky. It has interactive displays taking you through each step of production (including barrel making!) and a floor-to-ceiling exhibition of all the whiskies ever made under their label.
And of course, it is a working distillery, one that will allow The Macallan to increase their production by up to a third, if necessary. The new stills are the exact shape, size and lyne arm orientation as those from the original distillery, and they’ve been made by Scottish coppersmiths Forsyths, who have bene making the beautiful and “curiously small” stills since the 1950s.
The spirit that The Macallan imbues each bottle of whisky with is the same one that went into the creation of this beautiful new distillery and visitors centre. A testament to the brand’s dedication to craft and excellence, it’s a must-visit for anyone visiting the area. Whisky lover or not, you will be amazed. This is sure to become the new home of the brand, bringing their traditional spirit into the 21st century.
To find out more, visit www.themacallan.com and be sure to check out the next issue of #legend for an inside look at the distiller's lavish opening.