The Macallan's new lead whisky maker shares excitement on new role

The Macallan's new lead whisky maker shares excitement on new role

Euan Kennedy will work alongside The Macallan's first female master whisky maker, Kirsteen Campbell

14 November 2022

The Macallan's new lead whisky maker says he feels privileged to be working with the world-famous Scotch whisky brand at an "exciting time" in its history.

Euan Kennedy took on the role in June 2022, which will see him work with the distilling, blending, and brand and marketing teams to ensure each bottle of The Macallan that leaves the Speyside distillery meets its rigorous quality standards.

Since graduating from Heriot-Watt University's brewing and distilling course eight years ago, Kennedy said he had gained "hands-on experience" across the whisky industry including running a maltings and a distillery, and working in ready-to-drink product development.

He said there was a "collaborative approach" between himself and The Macallan's master whisky maker Kirsteen Campbell, who became the first woman to hold this senior role at the distillery when she was appointed in 2019.

Euan Kennedy getting to know The Macallan"s liquids

"In this role you get the opportunity to work across the full spectrum of teams that make up the brand," he said, noting that there are now some 200 people working on-site including in the distillery, its warehouses, its recently expanded cooperage, and in office-based roles.

For Kennedy, his new role will encompass three main responsibilities: production of The Macallan's core range, including the Sherry Oak and Double Cask expressions; working on rare and highly aged expressions, such as those in the Fine and Rare collection and its limited-release series; and research, both at the distillery and outside of it, to improve the quality and breadth of The Macallan's whisky stocks.

On the latter point, Kennedy says he is particularly looking forward to working with The Macallan's partner cooperages and bodegas in Spain to understand, and ultimately improve, its sourced cask stock. "It's become clear to me what a strong point it is for the brand," he said.

The Macallan"s team of whisky makers

Recent years have seen some notable high-aged releases from The Macallan, including The Red Collection, featuring six bottlings aged from 40 to 78 years old, and The Reach, the oldest whisky ever to come to auction at 81 years old which sold with Sotheby's for GB£300,000 in September, almost tripling its estimate.

Kennedy said: "Macallan as a brand has had the foresight to have managed its stock well, and that helps us to use it to tell great stories about great whiskies and great people. We now use that stock to honour its legacy, which is an incredible thing to do... Me and the team are conscious to make sure we are doing that as well. We are on the lookout for casks that could have that potential. It is a responsibility that we are aware of, and we always want to do the best for the brand."

The distillery, founded on the Easter Elchies estate in 1824 by Alexander Reid, is part of the Edrington family of brands having been bought by the drinks conglomerate in 1999. It is currently amid preparations for its 200th anniversary – but Kennedy was tight lipped on any potential plans, simply stating that he had joined The Macallan at an "exciting time" for the brand.

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