Celebrating one of Scotch whisky’s most influential women – Janet Harbinson of The Macallan


The Scotch whisky trade has had a quantity of influential feminine figures all through its historical past, however one of the earliest and arguably most legendary was Janet Harbinson, additionally identified fondly as ‘Nettie’.

Harbinson is a exceptional determine within the historical past of luxurious whisky model The Macallan. Born within the Scottish city of Elgin in 1869, Janet Isabella Harbinson was the daughter of Roderick Kemp, the proprietor of the model from 1892 to 1909, and she or he is extensively thought of the architect of the model’s rise to prominence outdoors Scotland.

Harbinson grew to become managing director at The Macallan in 1918 following the demise of her beloved husband, Alexander Harbinson, simply months earlier than the tip of WWI.

Taking over the enterprise on the tail-end of a World War was an distinctive problem, however Harbinson managed to drag by because of her ardour and take care of these round her and her dedication to the corporate and the group round it.

Harbinson became managing director at The Macallan in 1918.Harbinson grew to become managing director at The Macallan in 1918.

However, Neettie did extra than simply preserve The Macallan enterprise afloat. Over the 20 years she was in cost, she reinvigorated The Macallan distillery and model, overseeing its time-honoured distillation and maturation processes, sustaining inventory and growing restricted releases.

One of her biggest accomplishments, although she didn’t comprehend it on the time, was overseeing the distillation and maturation of The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926, which grew to become one of the most beneficial bottles of wine or spirits ever offered at public sale when it fetched £1.5m (RM8.15mil) at Sotheby’s in 2019.

Even although she in all probability didn’t count on ‘Cask No 263’ to be so beneficial when she laid it down again in 1926, the truth that it retained its high quality in any case these years is testomony to her craft and legacy.

The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926 is one of the most valuable bottles of wine or spirits ever sold at auction.The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926 is one of the most beneficial bottles of wine or spirits ever offered at public sale.

To commemorate Harbinson’s accomplishments and in addition to rejoice her crafting of The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926, The Macallan has launched its first ever biopic – an eight-minute marketing campaign movie titled Nettie.

Starring actress Emily Mortimer as Harbinson, the movie was developed in collaboration with some of Hollywood’s most acclaimed figures, together with screenwriter Allan Shiach and director Mike Newell.

Newell is greatest identified for acclaimed and fashionable movies like Four Weddings And A Funeral, Donnie Brasco, Mona Lisa Smile, and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire.

Renowned Scottish designer Christopher Kane created Nettie’s costumes and Scottish rock band, Simple Minds, wrote an unique observe for the movie as nicely.

'Nettie' stars British actress Emily Mortimer as Harbinson. ‘Nettie’ stars British actress Emily Mortimer as Harbinson.

According to Jaume Ferras, Global Creative Director for The Macallan and a producer of the movie, they uncovered Janet Harbinson’s story when researching the background to The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926.

“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,” Ferras stated in a press launch.

“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.”

While The Macallan has all the time been a staunch supporter of the humanities, that is the primary time they’ve launched a worldwide movie marketing campaign.

However, Ferras stated that movie has all the time been in The Macallan’s DNA.

“Our whisky has appeared in the background of many movies and TV shows, even taking centre stage on occasion,” she stated.

To underline that additional, the screenwriter of Nettie, Alan Scott, is definitely the pen title of The Macallan’s former chairman Allan Shiach, who’s now an award-winning screenwriter whose Hollywood hits embrace Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, Don’t Look Now, Castaway and the latest hit Netflix collection, The Queen’s Gambit.

Adding an additional twist to the plot, it was Shiach himself who made the choice to bottle The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926 after 60 years of maturation again in 1986, throughout his time as chairman of the corporate.

“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,” Ferras stated.

“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,” she concluded.

You can watch Nettie on The Macallan website or on YouTube.

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