Situated on a ridge above the banks of the River Spey, the Easter Elchies House has been the spiritual home of The Macallan for over three centuries. In 1820, Alexander Reid began renting the home from Sir Lewis Grant of Grant. Reid was a farmer, and soon after he sowed the fields surrounding the home with barley, Reid established the first licensed distillery on the estate, which he named Macallan after an ancient church that had been destroyed by fire during the 15th century. In the winter - when there was little activity on the farm - Reid would ferment and distill his excess grains into whisky, which was often drunk straight from the still or sold to travelers passing through the town.
Today, the Macallan Estate encompasses 370 acres, 95 of which are devoted to the production of the Macallan Estate's Minstrel barley (a single acre produces about 2.5 tons of barley each year, enough to yield 1,800 bottles of The Macallan). In addition, the distillery contracts with farmers to purchase barley that is low in nitrogen and high in starch, resulting in a rich and oily whisky.
After the barley is harvested in late August and early September, it is malted before being mashed in one of The Macallan's two mash tuns, a process that takes between four and eight hours. Then, the barley is fermented with a specially cultured yeast before being distilled twice through The Macallan's copper-pot stills. The copper comprising the stills acts as a catalyst, and enhances the formation of sweet esters while minimizing impurities such as sulphur. In addition, the curiously small stills - some of "the smallest stills within the Scotch whisky industry,"according to production manager Alexander Tweedie - produce a whisky with a heavy, oily flavor.
Following distillation, The Macallan distillers remove the heads and tails of the whisky and collect approximately 16% of the spirit to fill into casks for maturation. This "cut,"which is among the highest of any Scottish distillery, results in a more full-bodied and and rich whisky.
Macallan Rare Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky showcases two of Macallan's most fundamental pillars: natural color and sherry oak casks, according to Macallan Whisky Maker Robert Dalgarno. Dalgarno hand selected fewer than one percent of the casks maturing on the Macallan estate in order to craft this rare whisky.
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