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Sustainable Supply Networks

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

From Acorn to Cask

Our exceptional oak casks are the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colours and distinctive flavours of The Macallan. The European and American oak which is used to make our specially commissioned casks are therefore a vital resource for us, one which must be consistent in quality.  

As such, we invest more time, effort and resources in wood than any other single malt whisky.  We craft our own European oak casks in cooperages in Jerez, Spain. We then work with sherry bodegas to season our casks before they are transported for their first fill on The Macallan Estate.

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Our Master of Wood

This process is overseen by our Master of Wood, Stuart MacPherson from a dedicated office in Southern Spain. Stuart sources specific species of oak from select regions in Europe and America.

Our European species of Quercus Robur/Petraea are sourced from the North of Spain and South of France and our American Oak species of Quercas Alba are sourced from the East Coast of the US via our Spanish suppliers.

Verifying Provenance and Traceability

As a result of this careful management of the wood selection, we have developed an enduring bond with the regions we source our oak from and a strong sense of responsibility to protect them.  

As well as purchasing specific species and overseeing our cask production process, Stuart’s remit includes the establishment of certified traceability of our full primary wood supply to regional sources.

Stuart is working closely with our Spanish audit team to scrutinise the provenance, processes and sourcing of our supplier base across our wood supply chain and together, by 2025, The Macallan will have achieved certified regional traceability of our European wood supply chain, before moving on to develop the same in the US.

Cask Custodianship

Each oak selected to make casks for The Macallan fulfils a very long and highly valued lifecycle and legacy in our care. A legacy defined by mastery, craftsmanship and great patience.  The oak we select to make our next casks will be gently cared for by generations of our warehousing and whisky making teams for many decades to come.  

Once on our Estate, our unique tracking system assigns a code to every cask so that we can carefully follow the journey, use, handling and sampling of each one.  If we decide not to refill a cask, we know that it will be repurposed for another use, such as garden furniture, bar furniture or chipped for use as seasoning, animal bedding or biomass.

An Ever-evolving Commitment to Circularity

We identify and align strongly with the principles of circularity, and have become aware that we could take additional responsibility for a share of the excess wood from our European cask production processes.

By including batches of the wet wood in existing cask-transports from Spain to Scotland, we are undertaking research and development projects with key suppliers to understand how we may repurpose this wood by integrating it into our packaging and whisky accessories product range, and at what scale.
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Farming barley for the Macallan single malt whisky

Sustainable Barley Agriculture

Our barley supply network is subject to the highest independent certification FSA standards via Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform - Farm Sustainability 2.0 (SAIP). It is sourced entirely from farmers in the UK who have demonstrated consistent high-quality yield using seed from certified sources.  

Our supplying farms must be registered with either Red Tractor or the SQC assurance scheme (Scottish Quality Cereals), must produce barley varieties that are approved by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) and must be able to supply fully traceable records detailing all agronomy.

Progressive Packaging Principles

Giving Back