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Macallan debuts short film 

The Macallan has released an eight-minute biopic celebrating Janet ‘Nettie’ Harbinson, the woman behind its 1926 single malt whisky. 

The film features British-American actor Emily Mortimer

The short film, called The Spirit of 1926, details the real-life story of The Macallan’s former managing director Janet ‘Nettie’ Harbinson. 

Harbinson created The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926, which went on to be the ‘most valuable bottle of wine or spirit ever sold at auction’ after fetching £1.5 million (US$1.7m) at Sotheby’s auction house in 2019

Jaume Ferras, global creative director for The Macallan and a producer of the film, said: “We uncovered Janet Harbinson’s story when researching the background to The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926, and we knew we had to share it as soon as we learned of her role in its distillation and maturation, as well as the deep influence she had on the future development of the brand.”

The film will be screen in selected cinemas worldwide and is available to watch on The Macallan’s website and on YouTube. 

It is set at the brand’s estate in Speyside, Scotland, and tells the story of Nettie assuming control of Macallan’s distillery after her husband’s death. 

Ferras added: “At its heart, this is a love story; it celebrates the love that Nettie had for her husband, her love for the local community, her love for nature and her love for the family business. 

“She cared deeply about others and was determined to use her position at The Macallan to enrich the lives of those around her.

“Guided by her conviction and strong belief in doing the next right thing for everyone she cared about, she unconsciously made history and it is only right that we pay tribute to her.”

The film stars British-American actor Emily Mortimer as Nettie, and included the help of director Mike Newell, whose credits include Four Weddings and a Funeral and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Mortimer said: “The story is all about people finding their vocation in life. It’s really about holding onto the memory of someone that you really love.

“Nettie is living in the first half of the 20th century. She just enjoys her life, then her husband dies. She had to decide what to do with the business and she decides that she’s going to run it.

“There are some people who take what they do very seriously and care, not just about the product they’re producing, but about the people who work for them and what they are adding to the world. There’s something about that whisky, that was made under her watch in 1926, that symbolises the heart of the company and what The Macallan whisky is all about.”

The script was written by screenwriter Allan Scott, whose hits include Castaway and The Queen’s Gambit, while Scottish rock group Simple Minds delivered the film’s soundtrack.

Ferras added: “Film is in The Macallan’s DNA. Our whisky has appeared in the background of many movies and TV shows, even taking centre stage on occasion, and our former chairman Allan Shiach is an award-winning screenwriter.

“Turning Nettie’s story into a film was a huge challenge, but a bit like Janet herself, we felt compelled to follow the courage of our convictions and give her contribution the treatment it truly deserves.

“Each of our incredible collaborators have done a magnificent job of bringing to life our vision of Nettie.

“We can never repay her for her wisdom, her courage, her care and her craftsmanship, but we hope through our film our gratitude as a brand shines through.”

Last month, The Macallan unveiled the second edition of its Harmony Collection, a series that celebrates the world of coffee.

To watch the film, click below.

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