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Nurturing our Estate

E600CA23-A5CF-4F30-BC0F-7E8B830451E0@2x Jun 03 2021 · 4 min read

A Rich and Varied Ecosystem

The Macallan Estate has been our home for almost 200 years. We have strong roots here, nurtured by a deep, natural accord with the rolling landscape that surrounds us and the abundance of life it supports.  

Our 485-acre Estate is home to a rich and varied natural ecosystem populated by over 60,000 trees and more than 70 species of wildlife, birds and fish, including seven identified European Protected Species such as red squirrels, badgers, otters and pine martens.

 

Nature on The Macallan Estate - a pine cone
Nature on The Macallan Estate - the River Spey

Nurtured by our Habitat Management Plan

Our relationship with farming, wildlife, water and woodlands are vital to our distillation process, and are a strong symbol of our enduring connection with nature. Our Habitat Management Plan oversees a rolling programme of protection, conservation, regeneration and enhancement projects that ensure the wildlife, landscape and ecology of our Estate flourishes for generations to come.  

 

Land Farmed since 1543

It is believed that the word Macallan comes from “Magh Ellan”, “Magh” means fertile strip of land, and history tells us that our Estate has been farmed since 1543, a tradition that continues to this day.  Almost 100 acres on our Estate are set aside for the careful tending, farming and harvest of our own variety of barley, unique to The Macallan.  

This precious crop is crafted into rare-spirit expressions and special editions of our single malt which honour our heritage and home of The Macallan, such as The Macallan Estate. It is our aim to achieve the highest independent certification for our Estate farmed barley by 2022 via the FSA standards Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform - Farm Sustainability 2.0 (SAIP).

 

Supported by an Integrated Land Management Plan

Our Estate and Environmental Management teams have worked in close consultation with ecologists to develop integrated strategies which support the conservation and regeneration of our land and the many and varied plant, animal and insect life forms that call our estate home, both on land and in water.  Through an understanding of the ecology of the land on which we work, we can appraise the predicted impact of proposed plans, projects, and developments, focusing all Estate based decisions on both operational and environmental impact and value. 

 

The Distillery Bar

We Cherish Self-Sufficiency

By 2025, 100% of our passenger vehicle fleet on the Estate will be electric. As of today, we have converted 90% of our working Estate fleet and have supported this fleet with the install of 10 electric car chargers for complementary use by our teams and our guests.

In 2022, our estate grounds team will realise our ambition to complete a kitchen garden, providing seasonally grown local herbs and produce to supply our Chef and mixology teams who deliver our highly exclusive guest dining and bar experiences.
Discover Elchies Brasserie

After distillation, the natural residue from our distillery effluent treatment plant is used as an agricultural fertiliser and is spread onto local fields.  Our pot ale and draff co-products are also used for both animal feed and to generate electricity at a local combined heat and power plant.  

 

Transitioning to an Electric Vehicle Fleet 

By 2025, 100% of our passenger vehicle fleet on the Estate will be electric.  Over the past 12 months we have installed 10 electric car chargers for complimentary use by our teams and our guests. We have replaced our Estate Range Rover with a bespoke Bentayga Hybrid as well as converting our 6 site tractors from diesel to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO, or ‘Green Diesel’).  By June 2022 we will also have replaced our 11 working site vans with electric vans. 

 

Supporting Atlantic Salmon Conservation

Almost two miles of the majestic River Spey flows alongside our Estate on which The Macallan hosts an exclusive catch-and-release fishing beat operated by our Ghillie Robert Mitchell. The River Spey is renowned as one of the greatest salmon fishing rivers in the world, however, salmon numbers are in dramatic decline.  

We have reached a turning point for this keystone species and it is estimated that collectively we have 20 years to save the wild salmon in Scotland. But little is yet known about what happens to these salmon when they migrate to the ocean.  The situation has become critical and requires swift intervention to reverse population decline and promote the urgency of this issue worldwide.

Restoring Key Habitats for Juvenile and Spawning Salmon 

In partnership with the Spey Catchment Initiative and the Spey Fishery Board, The Macallan has co-funded a project with the Cairngorms National Park Authority to re-naturalise the Delliefure Burn – a key tributary of The River Spey.  The project restored the natural flow of the burn as well as creating a floodplain around it, of which the ecological benefits will be many.  

Principally, the project focused on restoring a vital stretch of water for spawning and juvenile salmon.  By slowing down the flow of this stretch of burn, we are reintroducing a natural ‘nursery’ space for spawning salmon.  These works also provide the right conditions for juvenile salmon – the fry and parr – to mature safely, protecting them from predators, extremes of water temperature and being washed out of the river during flooding events. 

The additional creation of wetland habitats around the burn will also improve the habitat of wading birds as well as preserving and increasing areas of carbon-rich peaty soil in the flood plains which are currently being washed downstream.  In 2022 our focus will be on delivering on-Estate salmon protection & enhancement projects in partnership with the teams at the Spey Fishery Board and the Spey Catchment Initiative as part of our focused Estate Habitat Management Plan.

 

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On the Spey and Beyond

For this reason, The Macallan supports the Atlantic Salmon Trust and the Spey Fishery Board in their critical research and project-work to protect this keystone species. 

The Atlantic Salmon Trust protects wild salmon and sea trout by tracking their migration across thousands of kilometers from their native dominions – such as the River Spey - to the open oceans. 
MACALLAN-whisky-distillery-image-of-man-fishing-near-bridge-at-river-spey

As a guardian of one of the last sanctuaries of Scottish salmon, we are supporting The Trust’s vital conservation work on the River Spey. We are also working in consultation with the Spey Fishery Board, Woodland Trust and North East Biodiversity Partnership to undertake projects that will protect and enhance important tributary habitats and locations along the stretch of the River Spey running through our Estate.

 

Awarded Green Tourism Gold 

The Green Tourism awards certification programme is acknowledged worldwide as an indicator of positive environmental practice.  Operators can be awarded Bronze, Silver or Gold based on the breadth and scope of their social and environmental initiatives.

Assessment considers policies across operational areas spanning water and energy efficiencies, waste management, ethical buying, locality and seasonality and the promotion of biodiversity

The Macallan Distillery and Experience has achieved Green Tourism Gold status with commendation where several areas of our Estate operations were observed to be best practice by the Assessor.

The Macallan Distillery has done an excellent job in achieving the Green Tourism Gold award following their first GreenCheck Assessment. Sustainability is very much embedded into the Distillery and experience as evidenced by the incredible building design that blends seamlessly into the beautiful Speyside landscape, as well as the team’s enthusiastic embracement of green principles.

Jonny Hume Sustainable Tourism Assessor, Green Tourism, 2021

Sustainable Tourism Assessor Jonny Hume for Green Tourism said: "There are several examples of sustainable best practice on site including robust monitoring and management systems for energy, water, and waste, regular sustainability training and knowledge sharing amongst the team. Elsewhere, the team has created a detailed and thorough habitat management plan that will help to ensure that flora and fauna within the estate is not only protected but supported to thrive.

The Macallan team has also been involved in a number of community and environmentally focused projects.  The above demonstrates just a few highlights of the excellent job that has been done by the team to secure the gold award and ensures that their commitment to sustainability cannot be questioned."

The Macallan Distillery

Distilling Inspired by Nature