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The Macallan Marks 200th Anniversary with 1949 Scotch

Tales of The Macallan Volume II pays homage to Alexander Reid, founder of this whisky distillery.

By Alex Martin

When Alexander Reid established The Macallan in 1824, $89,000 would have been enough to build an entire distillery with change to spare. Two centuries later, it buys you a single bottle of The Macallan Scotch whisky, albeit an extremely special one in Tales of The Macallan Volume II.

Reid probably also didn’t forsee The Macallan becoming the world’s biggest single malt Scotch whisky by market cap, but it was his pioneering vision and core production principles that set the Easter Elchies distillery on its course.

No wonder, then, that Reid is the subject of attention for the second edition of the Tales of The Macallan, a series dedicated to honoring the individuals who laid the foundations for its unrivaled success.

[See also: The Best Scotch Whisky Collections to Invest in (and Drink)]

The Macallan
The 800-page almanac tells the story of Alexander Reid and the distillery / ©The Macallan

Tales of The Macallan Volume II is a hyper-rare, $89,000 Scotch whisky from 1949 and limited to just 344 decanters. Bottled in 2022 at a cask strength of 44.8%, the 74 Year Old becomes one of the oldest whiskies ever released by the distillery. Only the Red Collection’s 77 and 78 Year Old, and the 81-year-old Reach, beats it for age.

Lead whisky maker Euan Kennedy said: “Displaying beautiful tones of bronzed oak, and subtle red hues that reflect the original meaning of Alexander Reid’s surname in Scots – The Red One – this rare and unique single malt whisky possesses an incredible complexity achieved through age and patient maturation.

“Enjoying a lingering smokiness redolent of whiskies of Alexander’s time, it is a fitting tribute to his living legacy as we celebrate our 200th anniversary year.”

The Tales of The Macallan Volume II is undoubtedly from The Macallan’s most precious stocks, but the stuff around will catch the eyes of collectors as well.

[See also: The Most Expensive Whisky Ever Sold at Auction]

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The Macallan
Tales of The Macallan Volume II is a hyper-rare, $89,000 Scotch whisky from 1949 / ©The Macallan

The Scotch whisky is presented in a beautiful, hand-blown Lalique decanter which itself is encased in the middle of a carefully crafted, leatherbound almanac that details the story of The Macallan’s 200-year history, as well as Reid’s journey.

One of Reid’s most significant decisions was to use what The Macallan refers to as “curiously small stills”. At a time when the industry was favoring mass production, Reid went against the grain by sticking to his original smaller stills, insisting on focusing on the flavor and character rather than volume.

Reid’s decision to champion quality over quantity not only produced a superior product but also shielded The Macallan from many of the industry’s recessions. Today, the small stills remain as part of the distillery’s Six Pillars, the core fundamentals that define the brand.

Each aspect of this whisky release required exceptional craftsmanship. The crystal decanter displays illustrations of Reid at different parts of his life, from teacher to farmer to distiller. Lalique and The Macallan have worked together on many projects, but few are as intricate as this.

Similarly, the book required world-class binders in Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe and Zaehnsdorf. All three companies helped to create the 800-age almanac, which not only tells the story of the distillery but doubles up as a case for the decanter. The almanac was printed by Imprimerie du Marais in Paris.

[See also: Diageo Releases Fourth Iteration of Prima & Ultima]

Tales of The Macallan
The almanac doubles up as a case for the decanter / ©The Macallan

Tales of The Macallan Volume II – Tasting notes*

Nose: Rich forest fruits, sweet aromatic woodsmoke, antique oak, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla pods, subtle herbal note, treacle toffee.

Palate: Black cherries, plum jam, dark chocolate orange, almond and custard pastry, ginger sponge with hints of cloves, sweet woodsmoke and loose tea leaves.

Finish: Long and complex, with a sweet lingering smokiness.

Tales of The Macallan Volume II is a limited-edition release of 344 decanters and will be available starting January 26, 2024 for an SRP of $89,000. Contact 

*provided by The Macallan

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