Event Review: Macallan’s RaiseTheMacallan

( A combination of checking dead links on our review page and perusing through my personal emails yielded a free post! Granted this post is three months delayed but it’s still relevant and fun to read, I promise. πŸ˜‰ )

Hello there fellow scotch lovers!

Sniff here giving his own report on the Macallan tasting and how it compares to other tastings that SnS has attended. I think it’s pretty impossible to write about these tastings without comparing them to each other because of obvious differences and similarities. Let’s start with the good, shall we?

Solid location. Carnegie Library is a gorgeous little spot but these well known brands seem to really pick gorgeous spots (Balvenie @ the Carnegie Institute for Science, Glenlivet @ the Longview Gallery). The layout had three main spaces, a waiting space downstairs for those who arrive early, a pre-tasting space, and the actual tasting room space.

The early-arrival space was just a pipe and draped room downstairs with no accouterments shy of some bathrooms. Once you got checked in via the QR code on your phone, you headed up to the “pre-tasting” space. After walking through an archway made to mimic the macallan estate building, there was an open area with lighted glass floor that was translucent with a mapped layout of the District. Pretty schnazzy but I’m sure that floor came with the library. lol. Going around the room there was a copper still (full size? probably not), a date chart for recording important dates from Macallan or via your phone for personal dates, a photo booth with Macallan backdrop, a colored light display that included a case containing five bottles of Macallan, a nosing station, a bar, and a giant bottle (able to be customized) between two bragging display cases containing some very rare bottles.

[Scotch] at the nosing station
The tasting room was set up almost identically to the way Glenlivet had theirs done by Pernod Ricard, in layers of seats that accommodated small groups from 4 – 6 very easily. It had the Macallan logo on a well lit back wall flanked by two giant screens for short video displays and close-up camera views of two demonstrations.

So there are the parts of the tasting you could observe from pictures but let’s take a look at was good, bad, and ugly, shall we?

The good. The choice of bottles was great: 10 Fine Oak (meh), 12 Sherry (great daily), 15 Fine Oak (nice), Rare Cask (pretty tasty). Not great because they’re the greatest bottles but because they’re a great selection to someone who doesn’t want to spend a bit over $500 to try something they might not even like. The greatest bottle is always the one you love enough to make your daily dram, quote me on it! The pre-tasting area was a little crowded but most of the displays were interactive so that made it a lot of fun. The actual tasting area was well laid out and had a fun presentation by Mr. Craig Bridger, Macallan brand ambassador. Overall the night, like the bottles, flowed pretty smoothly.

The bad. The pre-tasting area was a bit cramped for the number of people they hosted. Maneuvering some of the displays was difficult with the number of people but that’s generally preferable to an empty room, isn’t it? There was some serious misdirection when someone announced that everyone needed to head to the hallway to finally move to the tasting room. I feel like myself and the photographer who immediately started moving that way, were the only one’s who heard the announcement. The presentation initially started with the sales=pitch feel that Glenlivet owned so heartily but quickly evolved into a good time.

The ugly. There was no ugly. This was a free tasting event held directly by the Macallan!

Overall it was fun and well worth the cost of free. If you’re not signed up to receive invitations to Macallan’s events, I must encourage you to do so at Macallan’s website.

Slainte!

-Sniff

Glenmorangie Milsean

Glenmorangie has done it again.

I’m not sure they set out to create a dessert scotch with the Nectar D’or but scotch lovers responded very well to the very sweet, finished-in-dessert-wine-casks offering. That was 2011.

Here we are five years later and Glenmorangie has just released its seventh annual private edition bottling, called the Milsean (pronounced “Meel-Shawn”, it’s Scot’s Gaelic for “sweet things”). This offering was “extra-finished” in re-toasted red wine casks and bottled to look like something out of a candy shop (or sweetshop as the bottle reads). The alternating red and white stripes of the box and bottle are reminiscent of peppermints and for good reason.

On to the tasting.

Color: Rich Honey.

Nose: Immediately your nose bombarded with a birthday-cake-icing level of sweetness with fruity overtones like those you’d take in smelling the syrup from a can of assorted fruit. (I’m quickly reminded of peach and plum sugar candies I ate as a kid in Korea.)Β  Re-toasting the former red wine casks to impart such a level of sweetness might have been genius on the part of Dr. Lumsden.

Palate: Immediately the spice of oak makes it’s way to the front of your tongue and you’re left with a barrage of mixed emotions. Like smelling simple syrup while popping a handful of cinnamon red hot candy into your mouth, so it’s quite a bit spicier than a typical red and white striped peppermint. With a bit of coaxing around the tongue, the spice subsides and gives way to very luscious fruits. These are absolutely decadent candied fruits. Or fruit candy like the kind you’d find in a grandmother’s candy dish that are just slightly stuck together and very obviously, pure sugar.

Finish: A handful of fruit flavors wash over the tongue with the texture of canned peach juice in this medium length finish.

After adding a spot of water…

Nose: The saccharine sweet intensifies and has become ridiculous. It smells like the overwhelming presence of sugar that one can smell when wafting the air over southern sweet tea. That dissolved-in-water sugar that you know is excellent for making rock candy. The natural fruit sugar smells are just a ghost behind this pure candy sugar.

Palate: The spice of cinnamon and oak have been tamed with just a small hint to remind you thatΒ  you’re not drinking candy. Just a touch of bitterness finds its way to your tongue like a ginger chew. Interesting.

Finish: The finish is just as tasty with delicate notes of tree fruits subtly making their way to your attention.

Wow. This expression, I have no doubt, will disappear from shelves as the Nectar D’Or does. People will fall in love with the sweetness and may forget their drinking scotch at all. It’s truly uncharacteristic of any typical highland scotches but that might not be a bad thing. Variety is indeed the spice of life. Or in this case, the sugar and spice of life.

Slainte.

-Sniff