Posts tagged Scotch

17-year-old+ ice balls = The Macallan

The Macallan. Why does “the” sound so pretentious at first? And now it just rolls of my tongue. Actually, I haven’t had any tonight. Recently I sampled several (again), from ten- to 25-year-old.

My favorite? The 17-year-old, which was elegant, smooth, with good body. I’d prefer to sip that one in the evening with its hints of flowers and fruit, whisps of peat and smoke.

The Macallan is single-malt, which means it’s all made in one distillery. Sort of like estate-bottled wine. At that tasting I also learned that the US is the #1 market for The Macallan. The second is Taiwan, which surprised me. And, apparently every country has their own preferences for aged scotch. In Italy they drink 5-7 year old with tonic. The UK likes 10-year-old. In Japan it’s 17-year-old, which I think has something to do with the symbolism of the number. And in the US, our favorite is 18-year-old.

That same day I met the new Northeast Brand Ambassador, who was just being broken in – I mean introduced – to the market. His name is Charlie Whitfield and he’s British, which means we love his accent. Actually, he’s Scottish. Or is he Scotch? Anyhow, we were in Boston that day and though he’s based in NYC, he had sense enough to talk about the Red Sox (though he mentioned he thought NY had a baseball team too).

Whitfield got to do the ice trick at this event. Somehow, he took a large block of ice and compressed it into the shape of a ball with a special copper machine. It doesn’t take long, maybe a minute or less, and it’s a great bar trick. If I had a bar, I’d get one of those machines from The Macallan people.

What you end up with is an ice sphere that fits perfectly into a glass, and melts slowly to create the perfect melding of The Macallan and water at a cool temperature. I wonder who in Boston has an ice ball machine?

Dinner Party hosted by a great Scot

I like the way marketing spirits and wines is changing. Instead of summoning the press to a morning seminar or mid-afternoon comparison tasting, some companies are demonstrating the way their wines or spirits fit into our lifestyle. They’re doing this especially for younger bloggers, I think, but it works for me.
Last week I went along to a dinner at Mooo in Boston, where the menu said we were “Guests of The Macallan Scotch.” And we were – guests.
Upon arrival, we were offered glasses containing small pours of The Macallan 17-year-old. We stood and chatted, nibbling appetizers, meeting the other guests.
After a time we sat down to dinner, and several entrée choices. We drank red or white wine with our meal, depending on our own preferences.
We ate, we conversed, we sipped our wines: it was a dinner party.
After the meal, there was another offering of several Macallan single malts — each in a different glass to avoid confusion. Along with more of the 17, a few mouthfuls each of the 12-year-old, 18-year-old, and finally the 25-year-old.
Instead of spending the evening analyzing and scribbling tasting notes, I relaxed and got to know some of the other people at the table. Then I sipped and considered the scotches.
The sum total of my notes for the evening was a short observation from early in the meal: “When I think of Scotch I think of earthtones, of mushrooms and brown things.”
My favorite? The smooth 25-year-old. I can remember that without copious jottings in a notebook.
A good lifestyle lesson, I’d say.

Blending malts with a movie

Sipping Wemyss 8-year-old blended malts seemed appropriate while watching a chick-flick on cable. “Made of Honor,” which I had fallen asleep watching on a plane so I wanted to see the end. You know Patrick Dempsey gets the girl in the end, but I thought there would be some clever plot twist that brought it about. Unfortunately not. Frankly, the Scottish guy with the castles and Scotch whisky empire looked much better to me.
Anyhow, Wemyss’ “The Smooth Gentleman” started off the film in a light, pleasant NYC mood and “The Spice King” got peatier and more complex as the scene shifted to Scotland.
It’s too bad so many people have no idea about blended Scotch whiskies and think they must drink only single malts because that’s the fashion. Sort of like trendy single-vineyard wines. Not every wine or every scotch should be “single.”