For the past few months, the space has been cocooned in an envelope of hoardings as it reinvents itself. But now, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, The Macallan House has opened its doors, continuing the label’s trajectory of offering whisky enthusiasts exceptional single malt Scotch whiskies. With this new opening, it also brings The Macallan Estate in Speyside, Scotland to life through multi-sensory experiences.
The first of its kind in the world, The Macallan House is a 3,000 sq ft (about the size of 1.5 basketball courts) space comprising various elements and areas that highlight The Macallan’s relationship with nature and the unparalleled mastery that goes into whisky-making.
Jaume Ferras, creative director at The Macallan, says: “The Macallan House is unlike anything we have unveiled before – a unique place which captures our unwavering commitment to uncompromised excellence and brings to life the innovation, creativity and connection to nature which have been at the heart of The Macallan for nearly 200 years.”
Drawing from nature
As whisky enthusiasts know, the natural world influences every stage of production in whisky-making. Whisky’s core ingredients – water, barley, and yeast – draw from the earth’s bounty to create a rich tapestry of flavours. The Macallan has two other ingredients that go into its whiskies – wood and time. During maturation, the whisky slumbers in oak casks which gives it its natural amber hue. Nature, therefore, was the obvious choice as a design inspiration for The Macallan House.
The abundant use of natural materials such as oak, copper and stone hint at this deep-seated relationship. Navigating your way through The Macallan House, you’ll come away realising just how profound nature’s impact on the whisky-making process is.
The Macallan has also artfully woven six design codes, which pay tribute to the brand’s foundation stones for its character and spirits, throughout the space. The copper walls symbolise the distillery’s “curiously small” stills, one of the smallest in the industry, while the colour red is closely associated with founding father, Alexander Reid. The waved walls is a nod to the River Spey and pay homage to the estate’s unique distillery roof and the beauty of the Scottish county.
A trip to Speyside, Scotland
As you enter the main space, you can experience the four distinct micro-climates of The Macallan Estate – which sprawls over 485 acres (almost two sq km) – through sight and scent. In this space, bottles of whisky are displayed like art. They might as well be since the distillery is known for producing some of the world’s most valuable whiskies.
It is also a journey across the Estate’s barley field, woodland, River Spey and iconic Easter Elchies House.
Affectionately known as the “Spiritual Home”, the Easter Elchies House is a Highland manor house dating from the 1700s. It was there that brand founder Alexander Reid established the distillery, drawn to the pristine environment that provided fertile farmland and a clean source of water.
That the house appears on the label of every bottle of The Macallan is proof of just how intrinsic it is to the distillery’s identity.
More than just retail
As you move further in, you can interact with an “Amberometer”, which showcases the full spectrum of whisky colours that The Macallan produces, from light oak to dark mahogany. This way, you can understand the brand’s commitment to only using nature’s palette.
By comparison, some distilleries are known to add tiny amounts of caramel to their whiskies after maturation, to maintain colour consistency or even make their whiskies appear more expensive. This is something that The Macallan does not practise.
A darker liquid does not mean the bottle is of a certain vintage. Instead at The Macallan, it is down to the top-notch mastery of whisky-making skills to achieve consistency of natural colour from bottle to bottle.
Here is where you can learn what contributes to the heady aromas, rich, full-bodied, fruity flavours, and viscous mouthfeel of its whiskies. This is also where tasting and other educational workshops will be held in the future.
Savouring the best of the best
If by now you’re hoping to savour a drink or two, head to the bar and dining areas, where you’ll get to sample innovative cocktails. Of course, you could also just perch at the bar and order your favourite single malt.
As you interact with fellow whisky enthusiasts during the tours or masterclasses, you would notice how the bar is designed to mimic the granite rocks found on the slopes that surround The Macallan Estate.
The wavy, textured wall behind the bar? That is symbolic of the dried, sun-torched Albariza stone found in Jerez, Spain – home of The Macallan’s famed sherry casks – which give the whiskies its characteristic profile. The parallel lines represent the rows of vineyards where the sherry grapes are grown.
The front of the bar, on the other hand, represents the granite rocks found on the slopes that surround the Speyside distillery. Like the wall, the finish is highly textured, continuing the tactile journey.
The bar will feature the best classic whisky cocktail creations and to celebrate the launch of The Macallan House, there is a seasonal menu named “The Spirit of 1926” until the end of this year.
The last space is a private salon reserved for VIP guests. There, they will be able to experience the unique hand-crafted oak flooring – a design element that pays tribute to the sherry seasoned oak casks and the craftsmanship involved The Macallan’s whisky-making process.
Thousands of oak pieces were cut from staves of used The Macallan casks and fitted together on the floor over a two-week process and held together by a resin finish. The uneven yet homogenous pattern was thoughtfully crafted to further bring out the way nature works.
The Singapore connection
In designing The Macallan House, the brand wanted to show its dedication towards mastery of different crafts. To do so, it commissioned local artists Nathan Yong and Tiffany Loy to produce site-specific works that embody the distillery’s ethos.
Yong, a multi-hyphenate industrial, interior and architectural designer and President’s Design Award winner, created a freestanding sculpture in green onyx. Inspiration came from the pristine natural environment that characterises The Macallan Estate. Appropriately, the sculpture is used to display The Macallan M Collection, a series of six expressions released from 2019 to 2022 that represent the Six Pillars, the brand’s core values.
As for Loy, a textile artist and Royal College of Art graduate, the warm amber hues of The Macallan’s whiskies provided the stimulus for her piece: A woven fabric mural made of wool and silk. Its textured, gently undulating surface also seamlessly blends in with the other natural elements in the space.
The way ahead
With The Macallan House, the label cements its reputation as an innovator and industry leader.
“From a regional perspective, we are delighted to announce Singapore as the location of the first The Macallan House,” says Kok Lai-Ching, The Macallan’s managing director for South-east Asia & Pacific.
“Singapore is fast becoming a hub for wine and spirits within the region – a region where we expect the whisky market to grow exponentially. We hope that the establishment of The Macallan House, in partnership with Raffles Hotel, Singapore, will encourage more examples around the region.”
More activities will be organised in the coming months. These range from educational workshops to collector events and even collaborations with craftsmen.
In the meantime, for those looking for gifts, you can level up by opting for the bespoke service, which allows you to customise your packaging from a range of flacons, tops and outer boxes. You can even commemorate a special occasion by engraving names or dates on the bottle.
The Macallan House is located at #01-07/08/09/10 Raffles Arcade. It is open from 11am to 8pm daily. Learn about the legacy of 200 years of whisky-making by signing up for a tour of The Macallan House. Crafted without compromise. Please savour The Macallan responsibly.