Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Macallan Rare Cask

Launched since last October, I haven't tasted the 'Macallan Rare Cask' yet, because, erm, Macallan's flavor profiles generally aren't my favorites. It was apparently available only in the United States initially. And I said no to a few drams last Christmas. Hahahah. Right up, I'm more of a fan of Islay and peat, not the unpeated and perhaps friendlier Speysides and Highlands. Also not fond of Japanese whisky at all.

Honestly, I was more curious about Macallan's marketing campaign and utilization of space more than the whisky itself. Curious about how much marketing budget a whisky distributor would commit to setting a brand image, and of course, sales figures. It's obviously not a professional curiosity since I don't work in this industry or a scope remotely related to marketing and public relations. It's more of... wanting to see how the marketing is done in order to convince consumers to part with a not-too-crazy S$470 for a bottle of this expression. After this launch it retails at about S$550. Nope, it's highly unlikely that this would be stocked at the duty-free shops.

The interactive exhibition built for the launch of the 'Macallan Rare Cask' is scheduled over three weekends from 18 July to 2 August. Held in a colonial bungalow at 35 Scotts Road, the space is nicely partitioned to take visitors through the history of the distillery, its process, craftsmanship and the making of this expression, including a quiet-enough faux dunnage warehouse/tasting room for 20 persons. Very meticulously fixed up.

A single malt whisky is still a blend because it isn't a single cask. It just happens to be a blend from all the whiskies at one distillery. So we're tasting the skills of the Master Blender of each distillery. Same goes for the afternoon's tasting of 'Macallan Rare Cask'. Aged in American and Spanish oak oloroso first-fill sherry casks, this expression holds no age statement. Not really a problem. Not having an age statement simply means that it won't go beyond a certain price point, and also, the associated sharpness in its youngest blend would be evened out by the maturation in the sweet sherry casks. Also, they really wanted to explain to the audience about their casks, and how the expression is created from the distillery's oldest casks over 16 different styles in a production run of 125,000 bottles.

At the retail section, the man and I gave the bottle a quick thought. It's lovely to have tasted it. The man wouldn't mind getting it as an addition to the overflowing whisky cabinet. He's really easy to persuade when it comes to whisky. I don't want to own this expression. It's too sweet, not unlike a dessert wine. It's got all the flavors of a Christmas fruitcake or pudding, both of which I stay away from. It comes down to individual preferences. I wouldn't get it for myself, and friends would know not to get it as a gift for me either. But I would buy this as gift for friends who appreciate its flavors.

Cherries and cinnamon with a hint of spice; sweet and big on the cream.

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