81 Year Old The Macallan A Whisky Relic From World War II

| February 14, 2022

Scotch single malt whisky label The Macallan, already known for very high end bottlings, has gone one step further with the release of The Reach, an 81 year old distilled during the Second World War.

The Macallan The Reach, according to those behind it, is an 81 year old Scotch single malt whisky that’s the oldest of its type ever released by this distillery. Aged its entire time in a single, sherry seasoned cask after having been distilled in 1940, it was bottled recently at 41.6% proof.

“It is an honor to introduce The Reach,” said Kirsteen Campbell, The Macallan Master Whisky Maker, in a prepared statement. “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.

The Macallan The Reach

The Macallan The Reach (image via The Macallan)

“It’s also a tribute to the people who made this precious whisky, and their enduring spirit which never wavered.”

A whisky of this rarity and value is almost always presented in high end packaging, and in this case does not disappoint. It is, noted the brand, “encased in a 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, in challenging times, over eight decades ago. Another is the hand of one-time chairman, Allan Shiach, whose grandfather headed the company when this remarkable spirit was first consigned to its cask.”

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The third is that of Campbell, “who carefully selected the 1940 cask used to create The Reach, deciding that now was the time to share this precious whisky with the world.”

Sculptor Saskia Robinson created the sculpture featuring these hands, producing what’s described as countless drawings from every perspective before working in a physical medium. The veins, nails and skin detail are recorded with a high degree of accuracy, modeled on an artist’s impression of a hand of one of those original stillmen.

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.

The Macallan The Reach is limited to only 288 bottles world wide, each pricing at $125,000. Official tasting notes are below.

  • Color: Deep auburn
  • Nose: Dark chocolate, sweet cinnamon, aromatic peat, plums, leather, pink grapefruit, redcurrant jelly and a rich resinous note
  • Palate: Treacle toffee, bramble jam, liquorice, crystalised ginger, nutmeg, charred pineapple, pecans, woodsmoke
  • Finish: Intensely rich, sweet and smok


Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and...