It may be hard to imagine today, but for much of the 20th century, Macallan was primarily a constituent malt in blends. It was not until the 1980s downturn in the market that the distillery decided to focus on its single malt brand. Fortuitously, this coincided with the crest of a wave of enthusiasm for the high quality releases that the distillery had licensed to Campbell, Hope & King and Gordon & MacPhail in the 1960s and 1970s. These remain some of the most collectible on the market. While global single malt sales volume is still lead by Speyside neighbours, Glenfiddich and Glenlivet, Macallan is easily the most sought after. So much so in fact, that they had to open a brand new distillery in 2018, a subterranean architectural masterpiece within the Easter Elchies estate, boasting 36 copper pot stills.
The Rare Cask was introduced in 2014 as a premium permanent addition to the 1824 range, which was marketed between 2012 and 2018. When the the 1824 series was discontinued in 2018, the Rare Cask was retained as part of the portfolio, initially as a thrice-annual small batch release in 2018 and 2019. In 2020 the numbered batches were dropped in favour of a single annual release.