19 May How to properly drink an $8,000 glass of whisky

We met with Charlie Whitfield, The Fine and Rare Collection Manager for The Macallan, who gave us a quick lowdown on the history of the company before we delved into the specific bottle we’d be sampling:

“Macallan is one of the first legally licensed distilleries in Scotland, and the dates back to 1824 … [Macallan] has a 390-acre estate where we have our distillery, warehouses, we have land the we actually farm, our own barley that we use to make the whiskey…there’s a lot of history and heritage behind the brand.”

Translation: there’s nothing like this stuff anywhere.

But it’s not the spirit alone that makes Macallan whisky such a novelty, but the container in which it’s distilled.

We’re not talking about just a fancy-looking cask — Macallan is known for bottling whisky from sherry oak casks, which sources oak from North America, Northern Spain and other parts of Europe.

The oak is air dried for two to three years and seasoned for about another two to three years — it’s usually about a five year process before the whisky is even put into the cask. And the longer the whisky sits in there, the richer and more complex it becomes.

Enter the Macallan 40, a sherry oak batch of whisky that’s been percolating for — you guessed it — four decades.

It’s the second-ever release of a non-vintage 40-year-old by Macallan — and if that doesn’t make it rare enough, throw in the little tidbit that only 500 bottles of the Macallan 40 were made worldwide, with only 70 bottles available for purchase in the U.S.

And though $8,000 for a bottle of this stuff sounds steep, you probably couldn’t even find a bottle for a price that low anymore, explains Charlie:

“The retail price started at around $8,000 but if you track it online, you’ll see it going for prices close to $10,000, sometimes up to $15,000 and that’s only been a couple of months.”

So, you know, no pressure at all when we lifted our glasses to taste it.


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