Part 3: The Macallan’s most important ingredient: Time
While life sometimes calls for quick decisions, it’s more often than not a game of patience and perseverance in pursuit of something bigger. Without the wait The Macallan wouldn’t be what it is today because whilst water, yeast and barley are key ingredients of our whisky, time is essential at each stage of the journey.
Once our casks have received the stamp of approval from our Master of Wood, Stuart MacPherson, they then travel to the nearby sherry bodegas (wine cellars), where palomino grapes grow in the very special Albariza soil found in the Jerez region of Spain. Containing up to 80 percent chalk, a distinguishing feature of the soil is its capacity to retain moisture, essential for nourishing vines during the dry summer season. Once in the bodegas the casks are filled with dry Oloroso sherry and left to rest and season for at least 12-18 months.
We use a number of different cask sizes, from the 190L American Oak Barrel (used for bourbon) up to the larger 500L Sherry Butts, made in Jerez in Spain and seasoned with Oloroso Sherry.