Emily Mortimer in the role of Nettie

The Macallan releases film celebrating the woman behind Fine & Rare 1926 Whisky

16 November, 2022

The Macallan has released a short biopic revealing the real-life story of former managing director, Janet Harbinson, who in 1926 crafted the most valuable bottle of wine or spirit ever sold at auction, The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926.

The eight-minute campaign film, ‘The Spirit of 1926’ celebrates her quiet heroism and legacy, set in Speyside, Scotland, primarily at The Macallan’s 485-acre Estate.

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.”

Harbinson, known as ‘Nettie’ is a key figure in The Macallan’s history and was committed to the local community and following her husband’s death, she assumed control of the distillery, as was his role, as it was the best way to secure The Macallan for its employees and help the community. 

Without setting out to do so, she crafted The Macallan Fine & Rare 1926, which achieved legendary status after it fetched £1.5m at Sotheby’s in 2019. 

To create the short film, which stars British-American actress Emily Mortimer in the role of Nettie, The Macallan collaborated with an array of leading creative talent. 

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."

The Spirit of 1926 will be screened in select cinemas around the world and is available to view here

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