Taking a page from the world of wine, The Macallan Estate leads the coming trend of homegrown single malts
The Macallan just unveiled its latest Scotch. The Macallan Estate, a rare single malt, has been made from barley grown on its home turf, Easter Elchies. While such estate-grown barley typically goes into other expressions from the distillery – it has always been distilled once a year over the course of a week, and reserved for The Macallan’s top whiskies – this is the first bottle made up exclusively of that grain.
This spirit comes in a rich chestnut colour with wood spice, vanilla, and orange essence on the nose. On the palate, you’ll detect its signature notes of sherry, along with caramel, banana and warm spices. Sarah Burgess, their whisky maker, calls it a “rich, satisfying and complex spirit that pays homage to the fertile Speyside lands”.
At just 86 proof, this is a delicious dram that goes easy on the throat. It was also matured in sherry-seasoned oak butts and hogsheads, but the age statement remains under wraps. The whisky makers wanted total flexibility to choose the right casks for the expression, regardless of age.
What does “estate grown” mean?
“Estate grown” is often used in winemaking rather than in whisky distilling. While many brands have always grown their own barley, they rarely make a spirit exclusively from it. But that’s changing swiftly.
The tradition in whisky making has been more about seeking a certain distinct but consistent quality of barley for many top distilleries. But as whisky makers seek to expand their range of releases, they’re looking increasingly at the unique terroir of their own land.
Easter Elchies, for example, is a 485-acre estate in Speyside, on the banks of the river Spey, in Scotland’s Highlands region. Its barley fields are overlooked by the brand’s modern new distillery, which opened in 2018 after its approximately $175 million (S$239 million) build-out.
The Macallan Estate will launch this July at the distillery itself. It will be released in the UK for £195 (S$338) a bottle