The Macallan "M"

| 3 Comments
The Macallan M- Box Open.jpeg"Conspicuous consumption or classic construction?" 

This is what I pondered hustling downtown on a typical Toronto November night. Frankly, I was a touch surprised, albeit pleasantly so, to be invited back to another event for The Macallan after what many have called a rather scathing indictment of The 1824 Series. While I stand resolutely by those statements, I must confess that the concept of the evening makes sense, and is something that I genuinely feel should become more common in our local and national experiences.

Rather than stepping into a bar, cellar, or restaurant surrounded by the typical trappings of whisky tastings such as old wood, leather seats, and dim lighting, Ryan and I stepped into Harry Rosen's store in First Canadian Place in the heart of Toronto's financial district. Known for being Canada's carrier of top-end men's attire, this co-branding exercise was designed to launch The Macallan Lounge experience.

The core concept: enjoy a fine dram while shopping for fine clothing, thus simultaneously achieving sartorial and sensory advancement. Aside from the obvious gender-specific intent of the marketing, I must say that the idea of imbibing while shopping is one that appeals to me on a personal level, as well as making great business sense. After all, what better way to add value to the act of shopping while also loosening a man's financial restraint mechanisms to aid in the sale of a Canali suit?  

For those of you looking to enjoy The Macallan Lounge and its "Scotch and Shop" experience, it runs daily at the First Canadian Place location until November 21, 2014 each weekday from 3pm to 6:30pm. For those looking to find out what it's like to indulge the pinnacle of the 1824 Series, read on.
There is no doubting that the brain trust at The Macallan and their parent company The Edrington Group put some serious thought into creating this whisky. Bottled in a custom designed Lalique crystal decanter; crafted from the contents of casks from the 1950s,60s,70s,80s, and 90s; and bottled at 42.5%, Batch 1 of the M yielded just 1,750 bottles for the global market, of which the LCBO has apparently garnered 29 with a projected retail price of $5,000 each. 

Nose: There are numerous markers of older styles and older whiskies immediately present. Opening with cedar, a light Speyside peat, brown sugar, and hints of cinnamon and cloves, there is absolutely no mistaking that this is a considerable step up in quality from the rest of the 1824 line. Welling up in waves, the second salvo delivers the damp, earthy, stone scents of a dunnage warehouse twisted together with leather, marmalade, and a minty, almost mentholic note. Underpinning all this are light mocha and parma violets, the former developing with time and the latter disappearing. 

Palate: It's all brown sugar and raisin butter tarts to begin, quickly shifting to reveal Seville oranges and dark chocolate underneath, before returning a with a floral element that reminds one of violets and heather honey. Medium in terms of viscosity, yet surprisingly light on the mouthfeel, there is no heat whatsoever.

Finish: Suddenly, with the first exhale, a big hit of cocoa appears alongside a punch of honey sweetness, while leather reappears and then lingers for some time.The menthol also returns for a moment on the cheeks before the sweetness becomes slightly bitter, and all that remains is the leather and a wisp of smoke.

Overall: With incredible density and depth, the nose of this whisky generated an excitement that perhaps we'd found a way back to the truly great Macallan whiskies of the past. But moving through the full process of consuming it, the final acts of the play pale in comparison to the exposition, leaving one wanting more and wondering where it all went. Without question, this is a very good whisky and one that I would not turn away; but there is something about it that feels like the mild disappointment that comes from arriving at a great destination in perfect weather, only to have the clouds quickly gather and rain dampen the proceedings. Then there is that price tag: $5,000. It really did leave me wondering how much that decanter (okay, fancy bottle) is really worth, because in a blind test, I'd not pay more than $250 for a bottle of this. 

With all that in mind, perhaps the best way to describe Macallan M is that it is conspicuous consumption of a nearly classic construction. A designer knock-off that holds its own merit, while ultimately masquerading on its own legacy.

3 Comments

Great piece! I remember last year when I had the chance to try this I was quite excited. After all, I can't afford a $5000 bottle of whisky. Then such is my life, I ended up with not one, but three samples. I kept one for someone else (yes, I can be nice that way). And I savored the 60ml for close to an hour.

Then... I did the math... $5000 / 750ml = $6.67 per ml. I drank 60ml which = $400.00

I paid $50 for the ticket. So... in essence, getting to try the Macallan M was well worth the ticket price for the event. Now, on my current salary I could never afford to buy this bottle. Do I think it's "worth" $5000, that's really hard to judge considering I don't know what exactly is in the bottle.

I think if more companies tried to be a bit more transparent when it came to bottles such as this one, maybe... I could understand, appreciate and see why it's "worth" $5000.00.

If I were to win a lottery... I would probably buy this bottle because I have many friends who love Macallan and I would open it, share it and ensure it's emptied within the year... :)

Jo

Thanks Matt - great review, and one I wholeheartedly agree with. It's a beautiful whisky, but at that price is pretty much unattainable.

Thanks for the review. I'm not much for scotch myself, but my husband is all over it so I try to find new bottles to treat him to. That said, I think $500 is a treat . $5000? Eep.

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  • Jay commented on The Macallan "M" :

    Thanks for the review. I'm not much for scotch myself, but my husband is all over it so I try to find new bottles to treat him to. That said, I think $500 is a treat . $5000? Eep.

  • Tom Alexander commented on The Macallan "M" :

    Thanks Matt - great review, and one I wholeheartedly agree with. It's a beautiful whisky, but at that price is pretty much unattainable.

  • Johanne commented on The Macallan "M" :

    Great piece! I remember last year when I had the chance to try this I was quite excited. After all, I can't afford a $5000 bottle of whisky. Then such is my life, I ended up with not one, but three samples. I kept one for someone else (yes, I can be nice that way). And I savored the 60ml for close to an hour.

    Then... I did the math... $5000 / 750ml = $6.67 per ml. I drank 60ml which = $400.00

    I paid $50 for the ticket. So... in essence, getting to try the Macallan M was well worth the ticket price for the event. Now, on my current salary I could never afford to buy this bottle. Do I think it's "worth" $5000, that's really hard to judge considering I don't know what exactly is in the bottle.

    I think if more companies tried to be a bit more transparent when it came to bottles such as this one, maybe... I could understand, appreciate and see why it's "worth" $5000.00.

    If I were to win a lottery... I would probably buy this bottle because I have many friends who love Macallan and I would open it, share it and ensure it's emptied within the year... :)

    Jo

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