The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2011

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BIHL YOUR BRAND Macallan 64. W Jim Brennan, Brand Director of The Macallan, tells the story this way: “We had this great oppor- tunity to offer the public an incredibly rare 64 Year Old Macallan. And since we already had a relationship with Lalique, we asked them to create a unique—and, as you can imagine, stunningly beautiful—cire perdue bottle for it. And then we took it on the road.” What followed was a world tour—Paris, Moscow, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Osaka—culminating in an auction at Sotheby’s in New York. “Seeing the buzz and excitement around the world, we figured 150 was the number we’d hit,” Brennan recalls. “And when we did, that was great. When we hit 200, we thought, hey, that’s cool—especially since the pro- ceeds were going to charity. So imagine how we felt when we hit 400! We were in shock. And it wasn’t just a couple of guys; there were a lot of people in there at the end. We couldn’t believe it.” But that’s what makes The Macallan unique. In addition to a reputation for quality that is unparal- leled, it is also highly collectible. “In a sense, what happened with The Macallan 64 is a great example of the question we ask ourselves every day: How can we creatively delight our consumers while delivering the tradition and craft of the brand? Look, there’s a lot of ‘heather and weather’ in whisky advertising, and that’s fine. We The Macallan 64 Year Old in its cire perdue decanter from Lalique. just want to offer something a little different, take a different tack.” And it’s a tack that has led to some fascinating places. The Macallan’s “Masters of Photography” pro- gram, for example, which features some of the world’s greatest photographers interpreting The Macallan in their own way. “The first edition, with Rankin, captured life at Easter Elchies, Macallan’s spiritual home, in 1,000 Polaroid images. The latest edition features Albert Watson following the wood that makes the casks from the forests of Spain to Speyside.” “And there’s the partnership with Lalique,” Brennan continues, “with whom we’re producing a series of distinctive Macallans for each of our six pillars.” Six pillars? “Those are the unique qualities that lie at the heart of what makes The Macallan, well, The Macallan. From the spiritual home that you see on the label, to those sherry casks, to the curiously small stills—which, by the way, are so famous you can find them on ten-pound notes from the Bank of Scotland—to the liquid and the cut and the natural color. Those unique qualities we—and whisky lovers around the world—celebrate every time we raise a glass of Macallan.” And that sounds good at any price. april 201 1 / the tasting panel / 107 hen is a $150,000 bottle of whisky not a $150,000 bottle of whisky? When it’s a $460,000 bottle of The

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