Spanning two continents and thousands of miles, the incredible wood journey undertaken to create The Macallan’s hand-crafted, sherry seasoned oak casks has been chronicled in extraordinary new detail by iconic Magnum photographer Steve McCurry.
His exclusive photographic journal, which is revealed in full for the first time, showcases the people, places and processes involved in the production of The Macallan’s exceptional oaks casks.
Crafted to unique specifications, The Macallan’s oak casks are the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colour and distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan’s peerless single malts.
The images also provide a compelling new insight into the mastery of wood and spirit for which The Macallan has been renowned since 1824.
Steve McCurry said: “The thing I admire about The Macallan is their passion for craftsmanship, their excellence and their integrity for their processes.
“Sometimes you have to choose a different path – the one less taken – to go beyond hardship, to reach excellence.”
Firstly, the photographer, recognised as one of today’s finest image makers and synonymous with evocative colour photography, made the trip to the vast green forests of Northern Spain, the source of European oak for The Macallan casks. Then he journeyed to Jerez, Southern Spain where The Macallan’s casks are hand-crafted and seasoned with sherry – one of The Macallan’s defining strengths.
McCurry also travelled to Pennsylvania to discover the influence of American oak. Grown in the lush forests in the North East of the US, it is key to the unique flavour of The Macallan’s highly successful Double Cask range that balances both American and European sherry seasoned oak casks. After leaving America, these casks are also shipped to Jerez to be crafted into casks and filled with sherry, using the same traditional processes applied to the European oak.
When fully seasoned, each cask is transported to The Macallan Estate home to the award-winning Distillery on Speyside. It is then filled with the finest quality, new make spirit ready to be matured under the watchful eye of The Macallan Whisky Mastery Team.
As well as evoking the sights, sounds and even the smells of the forests where the oak trees that form The Macallan’s casks are grown, McCurry also reveals the mastery and commitment of those who craft The Macallan’s casks, including the coopers – professional cask makers – who spend many years learning and perfecting their art.
Stuart MacPherson, Master of Wood, The Macallan, said: “Steve McCurry is one of the world’s greatest documentary photographers and we are privileged that he has expertly captured The Macallan’s wood story through his incredible lens.
“Our people and their craftsmanship have defined The Macallan for almost 200 years and Steve’s outstanding images provide a unique insight into the intensive process of sourcing, crafting and seasoning our exceptional oak casks.
“With up to 80% of The Macallan’s final flavour and character determined by cask quality, Steve has recorded the painstaking commitment and attention to detail that we uphold to deliver the uncompromised excellence that lies at the heart of our brand.”
Steve McCurry’s interpretation of The Macallan’s wood journey is his latest partnership with The Macallan. It follows his previous work with the brand to document the build of The Macallan Distillery, alongside fellow Magnum photographers, in 2018.
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
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