The Macallan’s Million-Dollar New Distillery is Architecturally Delicious (Like Scotch)

Ian Gavan

Scottish whisky royalty, The Macallan (you know, the ones who put out this gem of a whisky), recently unveiled the brand’s new Easter Elchies estate distillery — a £140 million (USD $187,362,420) cathedral of single malt magnificence.

The new, modern home of The Macallan acts as the centerpiece of parent company Edrington’s £500 million (USD $669,151,500) investment in increasing both the reach and the refinement of their whiskies.

Officially opening June 2, 2018, the distillery is headlined by a massive, undulating timber roof structure that disappears into the land, mimicking the pastoral Scottish hillside (much like these modern invisible houses). A whopping 380,000 individual components go into the roof’s design, “maximizing the aesthetic beauty of the building whilst minimizing the visual impact on the Speyside landscape, which has been classified as an ‘Area of Great Landscape Value,’” The Macallan says in a release.

The overall appeal is a harmonious blend of contemporary and bucolic, lending to a structure you might imagine housing a great art museum or national opera.

The property for the new distillery has been home to The Macallan since 1824 (for U.S. reference, the year the first settlers arrived in Florida to found Tallahassee). The new structure took three years and six months to complete. Considering the magnitude of the project — helmed by acclaimed architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, along with 25 contractors — we’d reckon three years is not long at all for this casa. Then you take into account 400 people specializing in more than 20 different trades were employed on site.

Ian Gavan

It’s safe to say they must really love Scotch whisky.

The Macallan’s goal was to build a house that would match the quality of the sweet (generally) amber liquid it produces. And with the architecture’s unrivaled scale and complexity, I’d say the brand was successful.

Entering the state-of-the-art Macallan distillery can only be compared to entering a grand church in Paris. Like stepping foot into a sanctuary, the distillery has soaring ceilings and a matrix of golden copper stills. Visitors will be ushered through “The Macallan’s Six Pillars,” an interactive and tech-driven experience that touches on essential Macallan heritage from their sherry casks seasoned in Spain to the uniquely small stills.

The Macallan Distillery Easter Elchies 7

Ian Gavan

Speaking of stills, the new ones were crafted by Scottish coppersmiths Forsyths, who have been making the brand’s distinctive small stills since the 1950s. Don’t worry — the new stills are an exact replica of the originals. While the new distillery will allow for production to increase, the company isn’t interested in straying from the traditions that made Macallan, well, a top-notch Scotch we crave every day of the week.

“We’ve taken exceptional care in making sure that the spirit that is produced in the new distillery is identical to the spirit that we 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,” says Macallan creative director Ken Grier.

The new distillery’s Edrington location also promises to bring new tourism to the quiet region, especially as the rise of spirits-based travel, (i.e. The Colorado Spirit’s TrailKentucky Bourbon Trail, etc.) becomes a popular motivation for international exploration.

The old distillery was also in Speyside, Scotland, and it will remain there, but plans for what’s next for the space are still being determined.


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