Originally named Elchies Distillery, Macallan took out a license in 1824 one of the first on Speyside to do so. The founder was Alexander Reid. On his death in 1847, the lease passed through a couple of hands until in 1868 it was taken by James Stuart, a corn merchant in Rothes and owner of Mill of Rothes. He bought the distillery from the Earl of Seafield in 1886, rebuilt it in stone the same year and sold it to Roderick Kemp in 1892. Kemp’s descendants – in particular the Shiach family – retained ownership until the 1996 takeover by Highland DistillersThe plant has continually been expanded from its original wooden shed with two stills.
It was increased to five stills in 1954 and then more significantly in 1965 when a new stillhouse with seven stills was built. In 1996 Highland Distilleries combined its shareholding with that of Suntory to successfully mount a hostile takeover of the company. Edrington took Macallan out of public ownership in 2001.