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Charting The Macallan Double Cask journey

·3-min read

Since its founding in 1824, The Macallan has been hailed as one of the worlds’ most admired and awarded single malt whiskies. Times may have changed since then, but The Macallan’s reputation has stayed firm, and in 2018 we opened a stunning £140 million distillery and visitor centre on our Speyside estate – a strikingly contemporary new home for the signature sherry-seasoned oak casks in which we mature our whisky, as steeped in flavour as they are in tradition.

Good things come to those who wait

 (Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos)
(Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos)

The slow work of maturing in oak casks is at the heart of The Macallan and our Double Cask collection is the ultimate expression of that experience. It’s built on the harmonious union of American and European oak sherry-seasoned casks, brought together after maturing to create a perfectly balanced single malt. One sip, and the delicate flavour of that American oak – honeyed vanilla and citrus – rises to prominence against the backdrop of The Macallan’s traditional character of rich fruit, sherry and wood spice.

Crafted without compromise, and bottled with a depth of flavour that’s worth diving in to, the Double Cask collection is a marriage of two different worlds brought together on a voyage that has its origins in the forests of northern Spain and the French Pyrenees, where we source our European oak, and the woodlands of Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky for our American oak.

Both types of oak are then hand-crafted into the finest casks which are filled with dry Oloroso sherry for 18 quiet, contemplative months of seasoning in the southern Spanish region of Jerez de la Frontera.

The next stage of their voyage has the casks shipped to us at The Macallan Estate on Speyside, where they are carefully filled with our new make spirit. After at least 12 long years of maturation, the whisky mastery team choose the optimal moment to marry together the precious whisky within American and European oak casks in order to create the unmistakable flavour profile of The Macallan Double Cask.

Documenting the Double Cask journey

 (Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos)
(Steve McCurry / Magnum Photos)

The Macallan introduced the Double Cask range in 2016 with our 12 Years Old, and in July 2020, we added sumptuous 15 Years Old and 18 Years Old iterations to the range.

As our master whisky maker Kirsteen Campbell says: “Oak influence is the single greatest contributor to the quality, natural colour and distinctive aromas and flavours at the heart of The Macallan’s single malts.”

And now The Macallan Double Cask story is a journey in wood chronicled in extraordinary new detail by iconic Magnum photographer Steve McCurry, whose work over the past three decades has spanned conflicts, vanishing cultures, ancient traditions, and contemporary culture alike.

The Macallan Double Cask – An Extraordinary Wood Journey, captures that voyage in full, from oak forest canopies on both sides of the Atlantic through the bodegas and cooperages of Spain to Speyside.

Steve McCurry’s stunning images capture and distil the essence of what makes The Macallan so distinctive. His photographs showcase the people, places and processes that go into the making of The Macallan’s casks, and provides vivid visual insights into the mastery of wood and spirit for which The Macallan has been renowned since 1824, when Alexander Reid first established our distillery.

That’s a journey worth celebrating, and perhaps the best celebration of all is excellence, and that’s something we know about at The Macallan.

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