The Macallan Just Released the Oldest Single Malt Scotch Ever

At 81 years, it's a record-breaking release by the Speyside distillery, and limited to just 288 bottles at $125,000 each

The $125,000 bottle of The Reach, a limited-edition release by The Macallan
The $125,000 bottle of The Reach, a limited-edition release by The Macallan
Nadav Kander

It was just last fall when we were praising what was then the world’s oldest single malt, Generations 80 Years Old from Glenlivet Distillery, a very limited-edition bottling from Gordon & MacPhail.

But that record was just broken by The Macallan. Just released, The Reach is an 81 year-old single Scotch malt whisky distilled in 1940 — the distillery says it’s their oldest release ever, and from what we can tell, it’s now the oldest by anyone.

The 288 available decanters of the liquid ($125,000 each) are housed in mouth-blown glass, cradled by three bronze hands created by Scottish sculptor Saskia Robinson. According to the Speyside distillery, each hand “represents those who played a part in this whisky and The Macallan’s legacy from 1940 to the modern day and beyond” (that would include the distillery workers in 1940, former chairman Allan Shiach and current Master Whisky Maker Kirsteen Campbell, who selected the cask). A cabinet housing the decanter was crafted using wood from a fallen elm tree, which is thought to have been on The Macallan Estate in 1940.

There’s even a film that goes with The Reach, helmed by photographer Nadav Kander and featuring music by the Scottish band Mogwai. You can watch that video here.

As for the liquid itself: it was created from a single, sherry seasoned oak cask, and laid to rest in 1940 during World War II just before The Macallan (established in 1824) was compelled to close its doors for the first time in its history. It comes in at 41.6% ABV. And for tasting notes? “Its deep auburn hue is the first hint of this remarkable whisky’s astonishing depth. Offering notes of dark chocolate, sweet cinnamon and aromatic peat, leading on to treacle toffee, crystallized ginger and charred pineapple, before giving way to an intensely rich, sweet and smoky finish,” says Campbell.

The Reach will be on display at The Macallan Estate Boutique starting February 9th and later in The Macallan domestic and travel retail boutiques. 


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