Numbered among Macallan’s large Special Release line is their Vintage Travel series. The whiskies bottled reflect the style of spirit produced during the eras of the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. To re-create the style of The Macallan in each decade, their Master Distillers sampled bottles of The Macallan from that decade, refered to specification documentation and records from each era, and matched their aroma and flavor with more recent distillations taken from the casks maturing in the warehouses.

Unlike most other distilleries, Macallan had long held back significant quantities of its spirit, with some stores laid down as early as 1926, allowing it to quickly market special rare aged releases. In 2007, for instance, a 1926 vintage Macallan was sold at auction at Christie’s for $54,000, making it the most expensive whisky ever sold. These reflections of their eras happen to have some very old Macallan in it reportedly including 25 years and older in some cases.

The Macallan vintage travel range was initially launched in 1999 as an exclusive to World Duty Free. After the initial trial period the product was re-packaged into its current form and put on general sale in the Autumn 2000. This highly collectable range is now on sale again.


Spanish Civil War 1936-1939; IMPACT: reduced availability of sherry (Oloroso) casks for export affected the aging methods of the Macallan. Second-fill and perhaps ex-bourbon barrels were used for some of the whisky in the 1930’s.

Second World War 1939-1945; IMPACT: sherry casks remained in short supply and coal was also in less supply due to the war and its increasing industrial activity so Macallan relied on peat-fueled fires. During the 1940s, The Macallan would refill their oak sherry casks more often than is the current practice. This, combined with the use of peat to dry the barley, resulted in a whisky that was less spicy and peatier than modern day Macallan.

20s – early modernization of the malt whisky industry hits its stride. The vintage series’ actual bottlings (1926 for example) provide a great benchmark of this halcyon age

30s – less spice and peatier than modern day Macallan

40s – lean. a war-time scotch. increased peat. less sherry flavor.

50s – most modern of this series. raw materials were more readily available. this expression should most reflect the modern Macallan.


A fun diversion into the past with the opportunity to reflect on the realities each historical period placed on the day to day lives and of the people who made and drank these whiskies.


Difficult to validate whether or not they were accurate. Of all Macallan’s bottlings, these expressions may be the most variable. Some feel that Macallan can put anything they like into these expressions since there is no standard for comparison purposes.