The Macallan es­tab­lishes it­self as the lead­ing in­ter­na­tional sin­gle malt with the launch of its dis­tillery and vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence cen­tre, writes ru­bin khoo

Prestige (Malaysia) - - Con­tents -

A new dis­tillery for

years to come

Dis­til­leries typ­i­cally have a rather an­ti­quated feel about them. It is per­haps some­what ex­pected since most spirit com­pa­nies are all about lega­cies that go back more than a few decades. Hence, the rea­son why The Macallan’s new dis­tillery lo­cated amidst the cap­ti­vat­ing Easter Elchies es­tate will leave vis­i­tors more than cap­ti­vated. The name denotes that it is not just a dis­tillery but is also aptly la­belled a vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence.

An ex­pe­ri­ence it cer­tainly is. It is ar­chi­tec­turally breath­tak­ing, the first in Spey­side to be de­signed by an in­ter­na­tion­ally­ac­claimed ar­chi­tect. The firm Rogers Stirk Har­bour + Part­ners was se­lected to lead the project after an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion. Upon first look, it is not the hum­ble be­gin­nings of The Macallan, which dates back to 1824, that come to mind but rather its sta­tus as the lead­ing in­ter­na­tional sin­gle malt that it holds to­day.

“This is an ex­cit­ing oc­ca­sion for Edring­ton and The Macallan. The un­sur­passed qual­ity of The Macallan is in high de­mand and we face the fu­ture con­fi­dently with this new dis­tillery. It’s an au­then­tic, abid­ing, am­bi­tious in­vest­ment that will match con­sumer ex­pec­ta­tions for gen­er­a­tions to come,” said Ian

Curie, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Edring­ton, the in­ter­na­tional pre­mium spirit com­pany that dis­trib­utes The Macallan.

Curie added that t he dis­tillery will bring nu­mer­ous ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity, boost­ing the tourism in­dus­try, Scotch whisky ex­ports and the econ­omy. Edring­ton in­vested a whop­ping £500 mil­lion in the brand in­volv­ing the whisky, ware­hous­ing and par­tic­u­larly, in The Macallan’s sig­na­ture sherry-sea­soned oak casks. Of this amount, £140 mil­lion was al­lo­cated to the dis­tillery, deemed to be the “mas­ter­piece” of the in­vest­ment.

The project was an­nounced in 2012 and com­menced build­ing in De­cem­ber 2014. The first whisky ran through the stills in De­cem­ber 2017 and the vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence opened its doors to the pub­lic in June this year. The dis­tillery is ex­pected to at­tract mas­sive num­bers, dou­bling in the first year and con­tin­u­ing to rise there­after. It will also en­able pro­duc­tion of The Macallan to in­crease by a third to cater to ris­ing global de­mands, if the need arises. The new stills were crafted by Scot­tish cop­per­smith Forsyths, who has been mak­ing the brand’s dis­tinc­tive, cu­ri­ously-small stills for The Macallan since the 1950s.

“The equip­ment had to be made ex­actly the same as the ex­ist­ing equip­ment,” ex­plained Richard Forsyths, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Forsyths, one of the lead­ers in the sup­ply of dis­til­la­tion equip­ment. To this day, Forsyths em­ploys the tech­niques of its fore­fa­thers to form cop­per into beau­ti­fullyshaped pot stills. “All our pots are still hand beaten.”

The in­tensely-com­plex ar­chi­tec­tural de­sign – just the tim­ber roof struc­ture, one of the most com­pli­cated in the world com­pris­ing 380,000 in­di­vid­ual com­po­nents – was un­der­taken by Robert­son Con­struc­tion. 25 con­trac­tors were de­ployed to re­alise the vi­sion of the new dis­tillery and vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence. Dur­ing con­struc­tion, up to 400 peo­ple spe­cial­is­ing in more than 20 dif­fer­ent trades were em­ployed on site.

“The vi­sion was al­ways am­bi­tious but this en­abled us to chal­lenge our own think­ing to cre­ate some­thing so dra­matic and awein­spir­ing”

“Projects like this only get built with col­lab­o­ra­tion,” stated Brian An­der­son, project di­rec­tor of Robert­son Con­struc­tion. “A lot of the guys from Robert­son are born and bred in this area. To be part of this is huge.”

What dis­tin­guishes The Macallan dis­tillery from oth­ers is its con­tem­po­rary ar­chi­tec­ture. Cut into the slope of the land, the de­sign takes in­spi­ra­tion from an­cient Scot­tish hills, max­imis­ing the aes­thetic beauty of the build­ing whilst also min­imis­ing the vis­ual im­pact on the Spey­side land­scape as it has been clas­si­fied as an Area of Great Land­scape Value.

“The Macallan es­tate truly is a spe­cial place,” said Gra­ham Stirk, se­nior part­ner and lead ar­chi­tect, Rogers Stirk Har­bour + Part­ners. “A place we have come to love and re­spect hugely. The vi­sion was al­ways am­bi­tious but this en­abled us to chal­lenge our own think­ing to cre­ate some­thing so dra­matic and awe-in­spir­ing.”

In con­cep­tu­al­is­ing the de­sign, Stirk added that the in­tent was to cap­ture the spirit of The Macallan, “the mys­tery re­vealed, the idea of be­ing aware of some­thing, which is def­i­nitely man-made but is of land­scape.”

The new dis­tillery is de­signed to cater to grow­ing global de­mand for The Macallan.

“It has been very im­por­tant that we make sure we can sus­tain de­mand for this won­der­ful am­ber liq­uid,” ex­plained Ken Grier, cre­ative di­rec­tor of The Macallan. “We’ve taken ex­cep­tional care in mak­ing sure that the spirit that is pro­duced in our pre­vi­ous dis­tillery. This is the be­gin­ning of a re­ally ex­cit­ing new chap­ter in the evo­lu­tion of this won­der­ful brand that is The Macallan.”

“The new dis­tillery and vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence is out­stand­ing,” added Scott McCroskie, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of The Macallan. “It’s like noth­ing else I’ve ever seen. It will give us an un­be­liev­able as­set at the heart of The Macallan brand that will serve us well for years to come.”

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