Since the The Macallan had recently reopened their new distillery experience just a few months before our trip to Speyside, we just couldn’t resist booking a tour.
This was my first time ever visiting this renowned whisky region and unfortunately it also coincided with my getting appendicitis. So when we arrived I was still happily unaware that I would end up going to the emergency room in Elgin a few hours later.
There had of course been a lot of hype surrounding the distillery since they’ve rebuilt it for incredible amounts of money and we were very curious to find out how it would compare to the other distillery tours we’d done. The distillery is “built in” to a hill and almost looks like a space ship.
Since it was around lunch time we had planned to have something to eat before our tour but the café didn’t have a great selection so I ended up eating half of a quite dry scone. I would probably recommend eating before visiting The Macallan.
Just opposite the distillery there’s also some lovely highland coos that just ignored us when we tried to say hi.
It was definitely a really good tour. They had good visual aids – like lighting up the stills and different parts of production whilst talking about it. And also a film about maturation that explained further about oak casks and their importance. Without doubt a good show that will catch your attention. The scale of the distillery is also very impressive.
The thing that I missed the most on the tour was the scents. It almost felt too clean and organised. Whilst the tour was a good show, it almost didn’t feel like a working distillery but instead more like just a model. However it is a great tour for understanding different parts of the production, where what things happen and learning about the casks that they use. Now over two years later I’d love to go back and do the tour again just for the experience.
A good example of a more modern Speyside distillery tour.
They also had a part where you got to nose different aromas to see if you could pick them out. It’s a lot of fun since it often shows you how difficult it can be.
The tasting at the end was really good and over expectations. We got to try 4 different whiskys plus their new make.
Unfortunately the tour doesn’t let you have a look at any warehouses. Which is quite understandable considering the size of their operations. But they do explain maturation through a little film and there’s a room with casks behind glass where you can have a look around after the tour.
If I’m completely honest I can’t really remember what the whiskies tasted like. By this point in the day I was starting to feel worse due to the ongoing appendicitis. Another reason that I’d love to come back one day!
I would definitely recommend a tour at The Macallan because it is entertaining and impressive. Especially if you combine your Speyside visit with a tour at another distillery where you can get the different experiences they can offer. The modern and also the more classic. The café was the only thing during our experience that didn’t impress but perhaps it has changed now.
I’m looking forwards to another visit in the future.