The Macallan Six Pillars - a foundation
Updated: Feb 21, 2020
To become a brand that is recognised worldwide for its excellence, quality and distinctive flavour, you need a robust foundation that will ensure not only the consistency of your product, it should determine those characteristics your customers and fans will love you for.
In an ocean of single malts, blends, grain whiskies, bourbons and Kentucky Straights, standing out can be a daunting task. The Macallan however has created a name for itself and a following, and has made it look so effortless that it almost seems as if it's always been that way.
The truth is a little different though. Behind the carefully crafted single malts and exceptional partnerships with e.g. French Crystal brand Lalique, lies a company foundation that determines the direction and dedication for the future. The Six Pillars. In case you either never heard of these pillars or are not quite sure what they are, let me give a quick recap:
* Spiritual Home - Easter Elchies House, Macallan’s highland estate which was built in 1700, and which can be found above the banks of the River Spey. This quintessential Highland Manor house stands on a 485-acre estate.
* Curiously Small Stills - Size does matter my dear. And The Macallan knows it. To help concentrate the ‘new make’ spirit and ensure the whisky embodies the rich, fruity, full-bodied flavour characteristics we know and love of The Macallan, the 24 spirit stills are among the smallest stills found on Speyside, holding a maximum of 3900 litres each. Yes... it's unbelievable, but that's small.
* The Finest Cut - Whisky lovers all around know the importance of 'new make' spirit. It's literally the foundation of whisky and determines in large part the flavour. The Macallan selects only a small portion (the finest portion of them all) of their 'new make'. In their own words: "This finest cut ensures we produce our signature viscous mouth-feel and fruity aroma and flavour."
* Exceptional Oak Casks - Of all of the elements that determine the overall flavour of a whisky, the cask accounts for nearly 80% of what we taste. There is no denying that American oak, European oak and Japanese oak all have their distinctive traits and The Macallan has special oak casks created to their own specifications, and thus ensuring their unique flavour profiles.
* Natural Colour - Rest assured, when drinking your glass of The Macallan single malt, there is no way you will find any E150a. A common colouring known as “spirit caramel,” used by companies to enhance the colour of their whiskies. The Macallan is renowned for only using their casks to allow their single malts to colour so every bottle in 100% natural.
* Peerless Spirit - You only have to take a small trip down The Macallan's history to realise that there are few other brands like them out there. They pride themselves for their whisky mastery and intricacy and have created some of the world's most exciting and most expensive bottles ever sold to date ($1.9 million - in case you were wondering).
Yes, to become a brand that is revered around the world and delivers whiskies that make your heart race, you need a solid foundation that anyone can both understand (as customer) as well as live by (as part of the team). The Six Pillars guide The Macallan in their quest.
Are you wondering about that awesome bottle at the top of this post? That's The Macallan No. 6 in Lalique French Crystal, which is part of The Macallan’s 1824 Master Decanter Series. The name of this whisky is a direct reference to The Macallan Six Pillars. Not your cheapest bottle out there but I had the opportunity to taste this beauty at the Conservatorium hotel, earlier this year. Not a whisky you'd drink every day but it had an intense, fruity aroma, lots of dried fruits, oak and a little bit of tobacco.