Records of the Speyside estate were quiet over the years until 1820, when Alexander Reid rented the house and farm from the Seafields. A man “well known locally for applying the most advanced methods of farming”, Reid had a greater vision for this quiet corner of Speyside.
Four years later, and with the full support of the laird, he established the first licenced distillery on the site, although legend has it that whisky had been distilled on the estate for years, to be sold to thirsty cattle drovers before they forded the river on their way to the cattle markets of central Scotland. The distillery was possibly named ‘Macallan’, after the ancient and ruinous church which stands close by, and the former name of the parish. By the time he died in 1847, Reid had established a reputation for the ‘superior quality’ of his whisky.