The Macallan Distillery, Craigellachie
Built into the hill like a hobbit cathedral, the new Macallan Distillery fills the visitor with an almost religious sense of wonder. Watch people’s faces as they enter the subterranean vault that houses both a state of the art 15 million litres per year production facility and sleek high tech visitor centre.
Scandinavian pine vaulted ceilings, four cavernous chambers, a whisky wall, a rare bottle museum and a grassy roof that blends with the surrounding hills, all make for a spectacular setting.
Yes, it’s a distillery but not like any other.
The product is the same however: 12 and 18 year single malts but with different finishes from the lighter, sweeter American oak to the darker tannins developed by aging in European oak sherry barrels. The process is the same age old art, just the setting is futuristic and on an industrial scale.
Once you have recovered from the entrance hall, you can take the customary tour- required if you wish to partake in a tasting- but this is a tour with a difference, with the latest in multi-media visuals and unique interactive spaces. The tour ends up in the spectacular tasting room suspended eerily amongst the barrels at a bar carved from a single tree. They call it an Experience rather than a tour. They’re not wrong.
For those wishing to linger the cocktail bar offers panoramic views of the hills. Alternatively or in addition, peruse the museum specimens: historical and rare bottles, including a Magnum photography featured collection, or buy your own bottle in the shop.
This is the best distillery visit ever- even if you don’t like Scotch Whisky. You can always admire the highland coos outside.