If Friendship and Whisky gang thegither,
I’m aye the aqua vitae you imbie wi one another.
Maybe a nip, a sip,
O Macallan Gold to handsel and handfast a partnership?
A deal sealed
With just your word, a handshake, a dram?
What a firm and lasting promise I am!
What a lovely sentiment the words above represent, about friendship and partnership from Liz Lochead, National Poet of Scotland (2011 to 2016) in her verse, Macallan Spoken-Song. Reading the lines on a beautiful summer’s day in Speyside makes them resonate even more.
I’m here – along with other partners, many from travel retail – as a guest of The Edrington Group for a historic moment for The Macallan brand: the opening of its new distillery.
The fast-growing single malt has been produced on the spectacular Easter Elchies Estate since 1824. Now, in a bold, brave move, the company is moving to an entirely new facility on the estate. It is being revealed to guests across three separate evenings this week, including the latest event tonight, at which I’m delighted to be a guest, alongside travel retailers such as Dufry, China Duty Free Group, Lagardère Travel Retail, Lotte Duty Free and The Shilla Duty Free, among others.
Although details of the new distillery have been kept under wraps, we are promised that this will be something entirely new in the world of Scotch-making in its design and style, with the building itself cut into the slope of the land.
Before that, a moment to breathe. Last night the Edrington team led by Global Travel Retail Managing Director Igor Boyadjian and Commercial Director of Asia Travel Retail Marcelo Colombo hosted guests at the warm and welcoming Craigellachie Hotel and Copper Dog restaurant, before an evening in The Macallan lounge.
Today I had the pleasure of a rambling walk after breakfast with Igor and Dufry Global Category Director Eduardo Heusi along the banks of the Spey, which supplies the water for most of this region’s distilleries.
From the hotel we ambled past the historic Craigellachie (cast iron) Bridge close to the village, down past the fly fisherman knee deep in the river, and took in the striking beauty of the scenery in this picturesque valley.
We reflected on the life one could lead in a place such as this, at a different pace, with a dram always close to hand and the river drifting serenely past. We know that our stay here will be all too brief, and then it’s back to the busy day job and real life. For now though, we’ve agreed that we’ll grasp these moments and cling to them, and live on the memory once we leave.
*Watch out for our full report soon on the opening of new distillery and its significance for The Macallan brand.