The Macallan’s new, state-of-the-art distillery — the fruit of a spectacular design project — will open its doors this June. The project was announced in 2012, with the build commencing in December 2014. It’s taken six long years to complete — perhaps a year for each of The Macallan’s Six Pillars, the guiding principles upon which the Speyside Scotch whisky is founded. Or, perhaps the building time is a testament to the ingenuity it took to construct the world’s most complicated timber roof structure.
The undertaking started as a functional centrepiece to Edrington’s £500-million investment in The Macallan brand, of which £140-million was to build a new distillery and visitor experience. At its core, the project aimed to improve the warehousing of classic, Forsyths, crafted stills and to enable The Macallan to increase production by up to a third to meet the spiking global demand for the premium single-malt spirit. The end result is a masterpiece of epic proportions, attracting visitors from every corner of the world, including me, who jetted in all the way from the tip of Africa.
The cutting-edge roof is a masterpiece, comprising 1,800 single beams, 2,500 different roof elements, and 380,000 individual components, almost none of which are alike. It was masterminded by internationally acclaimed architect, Graham Stirk of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. “The Macallan estate truly is a special place; a place we have come to love and respect hugely,” Stirk says. “The vision was always ambitious, but this enabled us to challenge our own thinking to create something dramatic and awe-inspiring.”
And dramatic it is. The striking piece of contemporary design is cut into the slope of the ancient Scottish hills, with the roof covered in foliage, making it indiscernible from the rolling Speyside landscape in the most architecturally awesome fashion.