The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2013

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Page 26 of 164

SCOTCH REPORT LAVISH, dESIGN-dRIVEN PRESENTATIONS FOR THOSE WITH CASH TO BURN Over-the-Top Scotch by Ian Buxton "B eauty is in the eye of the beholder," or so the saying goes. You might want to bear that in mind when considering this trio of luxury releases. First up is Macallan's The Flask, produced in association with Oakley. Yes, it's a hip flask—but in case this seems a tad retro, and reminiscent of tweed clad gentlemen on a grouse moor, this is apparently the sort of very hip hip flask that you can drop from a helicopter or tow behind your gull-wing Mercedes. Or, should the mood take you, deliver to a naked woman who, for no apparent reason, has chosen to take a bath in the middle of an airfield. That at least is what the promotional video would suggest. However, if I had paid $1,500 for one of the 550 "limited collector's sets" that include a bottle of The Macallan 22 Year All American Sherry Oak, I'm inclined to think I'd be rather more careful with it. On reflection, having failed to identify a need for an "edgy, adventurous" container for my whisky that's "laser welded, wrapped in carbon-fiber composite and clad in aerospace grade aluminium," I believe I'll hold on to my hard-earned cash. Perhaps if I had a lifestyle rather than a simple old life, this might work. Also aspiring to the glamorous and largely unattainable was last year's Johnnie Walker Blue Label collaboration with Porsche Design, which brought us the Blue Label Chiller, Cube and the $150,000 Private Bar. This two-meter-tall stainless steel behemoth requires "state of the art motion sensors to activate its automated opening sequence"—or open it, as we say in English. On release, we were told 50 were to be sold. However, citing "privacy concerns," a Johnnie Walker spokesperson declined to provide any information on current sales. Draw from that what conclusion you will. 26  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2013 However they are not alone in working with car designers (boring old me for thinking that any association with automobiles and alcohol, however tangential, was a no-no). The latest offering to roar onto the test track comes from Chivas Regal and noted Italian styling house Pininfarina apparently united "in their ongoing quest for beauty, harmony and, ultimately, pleasure." The result: three expressions of "The Drop." Two I understand: They're essentially very elegant ways of presenting a bottle of Chivas 18 with or alternatively without glasses (from $140) that presumably will appeal to collectors and fans of interior design. Quite who will buy the third piece is hard to say, but as there are a mere five examples available worldwide, it's presumably not a problem. The Chivas 18 Mascherone by Pininfarina is perhaps best thought of as an objet d'art. Handassembled in Cambiano, Italy it features oak clad in aluminium said to be inspired by the original wooden frame used to refine new automobile shapes. A light, found at the base, brings this artistic 2.35-meter-tall piece to life. Individual pieces will be made to order upon request ($100,000). "All art is quite useless," wrote Oscar Wilde. One hundred and twenty-three years on, could the Scotch whisky industry be trying to remind us of that?

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