Macallan unveiled its new £140 million ($186.8 million) distillery this week, a space-age structure located on the brand’s Easter Elchies estate in Scotland, the site where its whisky has been produced for the past 200 years.
The Macallan building was designed by London-based architects Rogers Stick Harbour + Partners and is built into the distillery’s Speyside property in a way that almost resembles a high-tech Hobbit house. According to the architects, the roof structure of the distillery is the most complicated timber roof structure in the world, comprising more than 1,800 single beams, 2,400 roof elements, and more than 380,000 individual components. Macallan says 95% of the energy consumed by the facility will be from renewable resources.
“The building makes a statement about us in its shape and form. It’s incredibility aesthetically beautiful and has a marvelous flow from the production process to the visitor experience. It’s very distinctive,” says Ken Grier, creative director for The Macallan. He says that the building’s design was in part inspired by images of some of the greatest wineries in the world.
Inside, guests can take a tour of Macallan’s whisky production facility, as well as go through an immersive brand experience covering everything from the whisky’s production to the effect of barrel-aging on the liquid. The experience is multi-sensory in that you’ll be able to not only see things but also touch them and actually nose different whiskies.
And speaking of whisky, guests will have a lot of choose from. Macallan’s bar will include 952 bottles for whisky connoisseurs to try, including Macallan’s iconic No. 6 and M, as well as The Genesis Decanter and The Genesis Limited Edition, a bottle made specifically to commemorate the new Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience. Only 600 of the decanters will be made, and each one will be priced at a staggering $60,000.
While the distillery is certainly larger than the Macallan’s previous facility, Grier says that it was important that every aspect of the process be identical to the original distillery or, in some cases, slightly better. In a side-by-side tasting, even the world’s best whisky experts wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between what whisky was made in the old facility and the new.
“The stills are a death mask. [duplicate] of the previous stills. We took incredibly detailed measuring of those.” He also says that the production of the stills, which took 6 months each to make, represent the largest copper order ever in the industry.
The distillery is part of a larger, £500 million ($667 million), backing that Edrington has committed to The Macallan over a 12-year cycle, which will touch on nearly every aspect of the brand — from the new Distillery and Visitor Center to the casks, whisky and associated facilities.
When the distillery officially opens to the public early next month, Macallan will host a general tour for £15 ($20), which includes four drams of whisky. In the future, there will also offer a VIP tour, which will offer a selection of premium expressions to taste.