On a recent trip to back to Scotland, I went on a very short road trip, the primary objective of which was to visit the newly completed Macallan Distillery. Having viewed the video of the new facility under construction, this has been on my list of ‘must sees’ for the last year and it certainly did not disappoint.
Designed by architects Roger Stirk Harbour and Partners and costing around GBP140m, the new building commenced production in December 2017 with the new visitor centre open for business in June the following year.
The inspiration behind the building’s distinctive design is the surrounding green undulating hills that it totally unobtrusively settles into and ancient Scottish earthworks. This is achieved by the bulk of the facility being below ground level, the timber gridshell roof being covered in native grasses and wildflowers and the way in which the glass façade reflects the immediate landscape.
Prior to my visit, all the images I had seen of the building displayed the vibrant green rolling roof, so the only disappointment was that this had given way to a rather dry, parched vista. My interpretation of this is that retaining water in the steeper parts of the roof is proving to be a bit of a challenge.
The distillery is set in the estate of Easter Elchies House. Built in the 1700’s, the original highland manor house stands proudly as the first focal point for visitors as they leave the car park.
Turning the corner from the car park, visitors are met with a dramatic walkway that draws them into the main entrance and the visitor centre. The visitor experience commences with the display of a historic collection of 398 bottles, viewing into one of the stills and, of course, the opportunity to buy samples of this top luxury whisky brand.
Unfortunately being ‘just a visitor’, access to the more exciting parts of the facility was not possible (I was too late to book a tour), so my own shots of the building are limited. For more information and to view images of the stills and mash room, visit: Macallan Distillery.
Easter Elchies House
398 historic bottles – display wall
Three of the 36 new Stills