The Macallan Unveils 81-Year-Old The Reach, The World’s Oldest Single Malt

The Macallan The Reach

The Macallan has unveiled the world’s oldest single malt, The Reach. The 81-year-old whisky dethrones Gordon & MacPhail’s 80 Year Old Glenlivet, which was released just last year.

The Macallan The Reach was created from a single, sherry seasoned oak cask. Crafted during the Second World War, The Reach was laid to rest in 1940 before The Macallan was compelled to close its doors for the first time in its history. 

Kirsteen Campbell - Macallan Master Whisky Maker
Credit Christina Kernohan

The dark, precious Scotch is encased in an exquisite decanter created from mouth-blown, hot glass, cradled on a bronze sculpture of three hands. Each hand represents characters in The Macallan’s history and their unique story. One commemorates the Distillery workers of 1940 who crafted the spirit into existence. Another is the hand of one-time chairman, Allan Shiach, whose grandfather headed the company when this spirit was first consigned to its cask. The third is that of today’s Master Whisky Maker, Kirsteen Campbell, who carefully selected the 1940 cask used to create The Reach, deciding that now was the time to share this whisky with the world.

“It is an honor to introduce The Reach,” said Campbell. “Created during a turbulent time in the world, this extraordinary expression showcases The Macallan’s history, ingenuity and unmistakable strength of character. The creation of many hands, The Reach has been a truly collaborative effort. It’s also a tribute to the people who made this precious whisky, and their enduring spirit which never wavered.”

On the nose, the whisky offers dark chocolate, sweet cinnamon, aromatic peat, plums, leather, pink grapefruit, redcurrant jelly, and a rich resinous note. The palate features treacle toffee, bramble jam, liquorice, crystalised ginger, nutmeg, charred pineapple, pecans, woodsmoke. The finish is intensely rich, sweet, and smoky.

Reflecting its rarity and significance, The Reach is presented in unique packaging brought together by a collective of Scottish artisans. A tale of collaboration and connectivity, the result is a handcrafted quartet of liquid, glass, bronze, and wood that is a fitting tribute to the very special whisky.

The Macallan The Reach

Sculptor Saskia Robinson created the sculpture, producing countless drawings from every perspective before working in a physical medium. The veins, nails and skin detail are recorded in extraordinary accuracy, modeled on an artist’s impression of a hand of one of those original stillmen. The sculpture is cast in bronze, which contrasts beautifully with the dark amber whisky. 

The surface of the glass decanter features subtle indentations that match the fingerprints of the bronze hands which support it, while a cabinet crafted using wood from a fallen elm tree, which is thought to have been on The Macallan Estate in 1940, houses the decanter.

A film has been created by London-based photographer Nadav Kander working closely with his art director, Matt Willey, who was previously the art director at The New York Times Magazine. Featuring original music composed and recorded by Scottish band Mogwai, it tells the story of The Macallan’s legacy and the collaborative process behind The Reach.

The Reach is testament to the care and commitment to uncompromised excellence that has driven The Macallan since it was founded in 1824. It also pays tribute to those who strived amid great adversity to resume distilling The Macallan’s spirit, as well as the craftspeople today who continue to uphold the brand’s values.  

“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, crystalised ginger and charred pineapple, before giving way to an intensely rich, sweet and smoky finish” said Kirsteen Campbell, The Macallan Master Whisky Maker.

The Macallan The Reach will be limited to only 288 decanters worldwide, which are priced at $125,000 each. It will be on display at The Macallan Estate Boutique starting February 9th, 2022, and later in The Macallan domestic and travel retail boutiques. 

For further information, head over to The Macallan’s official website.

In November, The Macallan introduced an exceptional new single malt whisky into its iconic Fine & Rare Collection with the launch of The 1990 Edition.

Earlier this week, Bentley Motors unveiled an Extraordinary Journey made up of a once-in-a-lifetime road trip through stunning British landscapes, including the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the Cairngorms, and finishing at The Macallan Estate.

The Macallan The Reach - Credit Nadav Kander
Credit Nadav Kander