The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 128

28 / the tasting panel / march 2014 SCOTCH REPORT Setting Records, Breaking Boundaries A remarkable landmark was reached last month with the sale of a single bottle of Scotch for $628,000. Not just any bottle, of course. This was The Macallan M "Constantine" Lalique decanter, a six-liter giant that was auctioned by Sotheby's in Hong Kong. Filled with the same venerable whiskies as the "standard" M decanters, the Constantine (named for the Roman Emperor who attempted, unsuccessfully, to subdue the tribes of northern Scotland) was one of just four such decanters created by Lalique. Two have been retained by The Macallan and one was sold to a private collector, leaving just one available for sale. The extraordinary price—a record for any whisky—reflects the growing importance of collectors, while the location of the sale simply emphasizes the changing nature of the global market for luxury brands. The Macallan held a similar auction in collaboration with Lalique in New York, as recently as November 2010, drawing a winning bid of $460,000 for the "Cire Perdue" decanter. Future sales seem more likely to head to the Far East. There seems no end to the upward trend and, while it may seem a poignant end for whisky that will in all probability never be drunk, other distillers will be watching this with envious eyes. Look out for more exercises in super-luxury soon. Macallan's stablemate Highland Park has just released the latest edition in its Valhalla Collection, so called as the whiskies are said to take their inspiration "from the legendary Nordic gods of old." It's as good a place to look as any, I suppose. Freya—third in the collection of four—is a fresh and fruity expression of Highland Park, but with plenty of weight and body in this 51.2% 15-year-old dram. The Valhalla Collection has been a huge success for Highland Park, whose ardent supporters will no doubt be keen to find one of the 19,000 bottles available worldwide. U.S. sup- plies are available through Edrington USA with a recommended retail price of $275. Interesting to reflect that the buyer of the Constantine decanter could have bought nearly 2,300 bottles of Freya for their winning bid! Meanwhile, as Scotland considers the independence vote, the rest of the U.K. is getting in on the whisky act. It may not be Scotch, but English distillers are now proudly flying the flag for English whisky! More than a curiosity, products from The English Whisky Co., who were first to market with mature spirit, are now available through PVI Global, which is distributing the distillery's Classic and Peated styles in the U.S. Others are not far behind. Brewers Adnams installed a stylish stillhouse some years ago. Starting with gin and vodka, they have been laying down whisky which will mature shortly. A release date is eagerly awaited. Finally, the London Distillery Company has now commis- sioned its Battersea distillery. They may be leading with their Dodd Gin, but a London whisky is not far behind: Scotland may have to look to its laurels! COLLECTIBLE SCOTCH PRICES SOAR, AND ENGLISH WHISKIES COME ONLINE by Ian Buxton

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - March 2014