The Celebrate The Macallan event was a different setup to other tastings I’ve attended where all of the drams are laid out in front of you and it is a guided tasting.
There were roughly 200 guests and what turned me off about the event was that since it was a free event, there was not as much attention paid to the speaker Eden Algie, The Macallan US Ambassador, as he deserved. Very charming, funny and knowledgeable. His love for the company he represents really shines through. Really amazing host.
This is my typical gripe with free Scotch Whisky events, there is an element of some people who are ‘moochers’ for free booze and make it difficult for others to really learn with the background noise. Regardless- the presentation was light yet informative with just the right amount of background and history (which is not too much) for the type of event that it was.
In all there were 5 pours. I could be wrong, because again, the noise level from the back of the room made it hard to hear everything. Also presented was the iceball machine. And a few “oohs and aaahs” from this Lalique bottle.
Went to the NYC event Friday night. The location was in a loft near the 31st St ramp to the Lincoln Tunnel. It was a nice place. They registered everyone in the lobby and gave a gold colored token and a survey card. Once up to the 12th floor on a too slow elevator (20 min wait ) you got your first dram in a rocks glass. It was Macallan 10 year. I saw a plate that looked like it had had some snacks but was pretty much empty except for a couple of triangles of cheese and a few berries. There was a large table manned with 2 bartendenders happily giving refils of the 10 year along with mixers and ice. I was taken aback by the selection of mixers. They had Ginger ale, Coke, and Diet Coke. No seltzer/Club soda. I tried some mixed with ginger and must admit it was not bad.
I then found a seat at a table that had a large glass full of salted mixed nuts, and waited for the presentation to begin. Mrs Doc showed up a bit late and missed out on the 10 year sample.
The presentation was by a big shot in the company who ws very personable called an Ambassador of Macallan. Video of Scotland and factory production methods, oak barrels etc. pretty interesting. Then a Macarin glass of 12 year old ws distributed to all by waiters. Each table also had a pitcher of water for adding to the whiskey. He spoke some more about haw Macalln spends more money every year on barrels than all other Scotch distillers combined. They loan them to the Spanish to age sherry for a few years before the put them to use. It is easy to obtain used Bourbon barrels because Bourbon barrels can only be used once for Bourbon making. When they distill the product they only cut either 16 or 19% of the total amount of alcohol.
Then a sample of the 15 year. He asks if anyone has taken a wine tasting class with the purpose of telling you not to stick your nose all the way into the glass for the aroma. Also says how some water opens up the flavors and makes them more available and distinct.
Here comes the 17 year. We see some pics of him at various events and what was going on in the world when the whiskey was first put in casks to age. When you think about it the final dram, the 18 year was started in 1990. That was a long time go. The brew masters select 50 or so barrels of the hootch resting since 1990 and that is what the mix and bottle. The Ambassador also said that he has tasted all kind of elite bottlings and most FAQ is what he thinks is best. His answer is the 18 year.
Then you fill out the survey card with questions and comments, hand it in and receive a gift bag with a Macarin whiskey glass a 50 ml bottle of 12 year and a Godiva 72% chocolate bar with almonds. And leave with a nice buzz.
I attended the Macallan tasting in San Francisco last nite. I thought the presentation was, at times, a little too much of a "rah-rah" pep rally. We did get to taste 5 different Macallan single-malts. The appetizers served were tasty and ample. On our way out the door, we received a 1/10th bottle of the 12-year old single malt and a nice tasting glass.
This is worth the effort if you can attend. It is remenscent of how the J. Walker used to do their events a few years ago before they switched to thimbule sized tastes of each whiskey.
You are ushered in and handed a glass of Macallen 10yr. Fine Oak. ( I've always liked this product) there are some apps and whathave you.
then you grab a table and settle in. Don't be afraid to go back up and ask for a refil on the 10yr Fine Oak. You only get a "token" for one drink but i was happily poured another dram.
The tasting is what you expect with an ambassador giving a spiel and running through the macallan product. Products distributed for tasting are: 12 yr original, 15yr. Fine Oak, 17 yr. Fine oak, and the Macallen 25yr.
When you leave, if you hand them a survey, you get a gift bag that contains a black Macallan hat and a Glencairn glass.
You should go if yo can. Total time of the event is about an hour and a half. I left with a very nice buzz.