When people think of The Macallan, they usually think single malt; Scotland; Speyside. But now more than ever, they should also think of Spain—Jerez de la Frontera, to be exact. The iconic distiller has recently announced a new partnership with Bodegas Grupo Estévez, S.L., one of Spain’s leading Sherry producers.
The Macallan obtains all its color and up to 80% of its flavor via the aging process that occurs in casks. The Macallan distillery is famous for using the highest quality Sherry-seasoned oak casks to produce its Scotch whisky, and for the vibrant, all-natural color that the casks lend to the final spirit.
This partnership ensures a sustainable supply of the highest-quality Sherry for the fabled brand, and it comes at an important time. Next year, The Macallan celebrates its 200th anniversary, the double century marking a monumental occasion in the history of any distiller.
Grupo Estévez is based in Jerez de la Frontera, the home of the finest Sherry in the world, and with it, the finest Sherry casks. This new venture simply reaffirms the lengths The Macallan is prepared to go to ensure that its whisky is only matured in the Sherry-seasoned oak casks of an exemplary standard.
Born in Jerez
The Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera hums to the beat of Sherry production. While not everyone in the region works in the industry, you can be sure that during harvest, the fields are filled with extra hands.
Like the Champagne or Bordeaux regions of France, “The Sherry Triangle” is a protected region that sits in between the cities of Jerez de la Frontera, Sanlúcar de Barrameda, and El Puerto de Santa María. Here, the production of fortified wine is a way of life that’s steeped in history. Bodegas Valdespino — owned by Grupo Estévez — can trace its roots back to the year 1264.
Jerez de la Frontera is a particularly beautiful landscape. Its natural rolling hills are adorned with the vineyards of numerous producers. It’s not unreasonable to believe that this natural beauty and the strong connection of the community is imbued into the casks themselves.
“The soil, the sun, the community, the people, this place, Jerez, it all becomes one in a cask,” says Jaume Ferras, creative director at The Macallan.
An unwavering respect for quality
The Macallan requires a significant amount of Sherry to ensure each one is adequately seasoned.
Igor Boyadjian, managing director of The Macallan, said: “Our partnership with Grupo Estévez builds on The Macallan’s long-standing, deep relationship with the Jerez community and with our wide range of valued suppliers in the Sherry industry that have always played a critical role in the quality of our exceptional Scotch whisky.
“We hand select our Sherry-seasoned oak casks from Jerez for richness and complexity. The partnership with Grupo Estévez demonstrates the creativity and innovation that has driven The Macallan since it was founded almost 200 years ago and continues the brand’s evolution through masters collaborating with masters.”
Casks fit for a king
Grupo Estévez, led by CEO José Ramón Estévez, owns vineyards in the Sherry Triangle in Jerez and makes the ultra-premium Valdespino brand of Sherry and aperitifs.
Valdespino can trace its history back to the Christian Knight Don Alfonso Valdespino — who was given the vineyard by the Spanish king in 1264 — and owns some of the most treasured vineyards in the exclusive Pago de Macharnudo region.
It will now sit alongside The Macallan in the Edrington portfolio with some of the most recognizable spirits brands in the world. Grupo Estévez’s leadership team will remain in place, bringing a wealth of Sherry-making expertise to Edrington.
Estévez said: “This will be the first time we have used our beautiful Sherry for cask seasoning, and we are so pleased that we will do this exclusively for The Macallan, which is synonymous with the highest quality Scotch whisky. We look forward to contributing to that quality in the years ahead through the seasoning of The Macallan casks with our Sherry.
“We are also extremely excited to be working with The Macallan team to help build our exceptional Valdespino sherries and aperitifs internationally. Both The Macallan and Grupo Estévez have a shared commitment to quality for our consumers and respect for the societies we live and work in and to the environment.”
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