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Taste-Testing a $5,000 Bottle of Whisky

The Macallan's M Series is serious whisky with a serious price tag.

My friend Dan Volway has just about the best job in the world. As one of the key Brand Ambassadors for Scotland’s Edrington Group he’s responsible for travelling around (mostly in Western Canada) telling people both about The Macallan and Highland Park, which, among those who know, are probably the two most respected Single Malt whisky makers in the world. So when Dan says he’s got something “really interesting to taste”, I start clearing my calendar.

Perhaps you’re familiar with spirits that come in a special commemorative tin, but I assume you don’t know that many single bottles that come in their own very large, fully padded box. And that within that protective box sits another, slightly smaller presentation box of black lacquer and mirrors.

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And within that box that holds a Lalique crystal decanter.

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All of which would be a interesting exercise in home decor if the stuff inside that decanter weren’t something special. It is. I don’t know exactly how to give a proper tasting note for a $5,000 bottle of Scotch. Is it 50 times better than Macallan’s new 1824 Amber series? No, of course not. I can say leaving modifiers aside (the best vanilla and nutmeg spiked Christmas cake ever) it’s significantly more pleasing and palatable than a number of 40+ year old whiskies I’ve had the pleasure to taste. I chalk this up to being a blend of several casks (the oldest, which is circa 1940) of different ages that allow the master blender to smooth over a few flaws evident in most super old casks.

Who buys a $5,000 bottle of Scotch? A lot of people, and a disproportionately large number from B.C. and Alberta. So next time your see a black lacquer case behind your hosts bar and he/she asks you what you’d like, I think you now know the answer.

 

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