Insight: Jaw dropping

Insight: Jaw dropping

The Macallan breaks world record for most expensive whisky sold at auction

News | 20 Mar 2015 | Issue 126 | By Rupert Wheeler

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Guinness World Records has awarded The Macallan the accolade of 'most expensive whisky sold at auction'. Now the definitive world record holder, The Macallan M Imperiale 6-litre Lalique decanter sold at auction in Hong Kong for $628,000 in January 2014, breaking the previous record of $460,000 held by The Macallan in Lalique Cire Perdue, raising funds for a host of locally based charities.

David Cox of The Macallan commented, "To achieve this record for a second time is an outstanding achievement for The Macallan and is testament to the appetite for such exceptional and special creations with our long standing partner, Lalique. M Imperiale is the largest decanter Lalique has ever made and the largest The Macallan has ever filled. It truly showcases the combined talents of one of the world's great designers (Fabien Baron), the finest of crystal makers and makers of one the world's great spirits, The Macallan."

Lalique created four of these stupendous decanters with each decanter requiring the work of 17 craftsmen, including two with the prestigious title, 'Meilleur Ouvrier de France', with each taking over 50 hours to complete.

Of the four, two have been archived by The Macallan and one has been committed to a private collector in Asia. The fourth, Constantine (named, as are the other three, after Roman emperors), is the only one to feature the engraved autographs of the three principal creators - Lalique/Silvio Denz, Fabien Baron and Bob Dalgarno. Constantine was presented at an auction of Finest and Rarest Wines and The Macallan by Sotheby's, in Hong Kong, on Saturday, 18 January 2014.

All net sale proceeds have been donated to local charities in Hong Kong.

The Macallan is one of the world's most admired and awarded single malt whiskies. The reputation of The Macallan is based on a product of outstanding quality and distinctive character, founded upon a set of guiding principles, the Six Pillars.

An obsession with quality has been the hallmark of The Macallan since its founding by Alexander Reid on a plateau above the river Spey in north-east Scotland. The distillery is surrounded by a 150 hectare estate, with Easter Elchies House, a Highland Manor built in 1700, at its heart. Traditionally known for maturation in Spanish oak, sherry seasoned casks, The Macallan's range of outstanding single malts includes: Sherry Oak, matured in Spanish oak casks seasoned with sherry; Fine Oak, matured both in sherry casks of Spanish and American oak and in American oak casks seasoned with bourbon; the 1824 range, exclusive to Global Travel Retail. In addition, The Macallan is well known for its great range of vintage whiskies, dating back to 1926, and is considered the most sought after of all single malts among collectors and connoisseurs at auction. Please savour responsibly,

Lalique is more than just a name. It is René Lalique's (1860-1945) talent, a genius destined to revolutionise the world of jewellery, beginning in 1888 with his famous 'Art Nouveau' jewellery sets, true works of art, which are now highly sought-after by museums and collectors.

Midleton celebrates the flavour of Ireland

Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard has unveiled Midleton Dair Ghaelach, its first Irish whiskey to be finished in virgin Irish Oak Hogsheads. This uniquely Irish expression is the latest addition to the Midleton Single Pot Still family of whiskeys, satisfying the growing appetite among whisk(e)y lovers for discovering new and innovative styles of Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

Midleton Dair Ghaelach, meaning 'Irish oak', is the result of a six-year exploration by the Midleton Masters into using native oak to mature Irish whiskey. Led by Master Blender, Billy Leighton, and Kevin O'Gorman, Master of Maturation, the project had two prerequisites. The first was to ensure that all Irish oak was sourced exclusively from sustainable Irish Oak forests that could guarantee both a long-term supply and the re-generation of native wood. While the second was to explore what new taste profiles could be created from Irish oak maturation to craft a new and outstanding Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey.

In collaboration with professional Irish forestry consultants, O'Gorman and Leighton selected Grinsell's Wood within the Ballaghtobin Estate, Co. Kilkenny, to provide the oak for the first in a series of virgin oak releases in the coming years. Each bottle can be traced back to one of ten 130-year-old Irish oak trees in Grinsell's Wood, which were felled in April 2012.

Finland's Teerenpeli Distillery to invest in a new whisky distillery

Based in the city of Lahti, Teerenpeli Brewery & Distillery focuses on the production of Finnish malt whisky and is investing in new distilling equipment. The investment is worth EUR 500,000. The new investment will quadruple the production of distillate for whisky, the raw material that goes in the barrels, to 160,000 litres per year from the current 40,000 litres. Teerenpeli Distillery has been making Finnish whisky for more than a decade now, since 2002. Last year, the share of exports in Teerenpeli's whisky production doubled in year-on-year terms, and this investment is intended to ensure continued growth. Teerenpeli Distillery currently exports to Sweden, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Respect for traditions

Teerenpeli whisky is produced in a genuine, traditional copper pot still. The supplier of the new distillery equipment is Forsyth Group, Scotland. Teerenpeli has used the same supplier on earlier occasions. The form of the distilling pots remains unchanged even though the new equipment will be bigger. This ensures the consistency of the unique and distinctive character of the Teerenpeli single malt whisky.

The new equipment is currently being built and will be introduced in the autumn of 2015. Teerenpeli Distillery uses renewable and environmentally friendly energy from a pellet-fired plant. The old distillery facilities, in the centre of Lahti, will continue to operate but with a greater focus on special distillates, such as those for organic whiskies, or whiskies with a strongly smoky character.

UISGE 2015 Awards for Teerenpeli Distillery whiskies

Teerenpeli Distillery's Distiller's Choice 'Port Wood Finished' won first prize in the Nordic whiskies series, and Distiller's Choice 'HOSA' earned second prize. The awards were presented at the UISGE 2015 event, held on 6 - 7 February 2015 at Helsinki's Vanha Ylioppilastalo.

Both are single malt whiskies with restricted availability. Distiller's Choice 'Port Wood Finished' is a bottle run produced exclusively for Tallink Silja Oy, consisting of 1,174 bottles in all. The 'Port Wood Finished' whisky has matured in bourbon barrels and was then finished in port wine barrels. In addition to Tallink Silja passenger ships, the whisky is available at all Teerenpeli and Taivaanranta restaurants.

Diageo and Thinfilm Unveil the Connected 'Smart Bottle'

Diageo plc and Thin Film Electronics ASA a global leader in the development of printed electronics and smart systems, will look to completely change the role of a bottle in the consumer experience, with a prototype Johnnie Walker Blue Label® 'smart bottle' unveiled at Mobile World Congress, which took place 2 - 5 March, 2015.

The connected 'smart bottle' aims to enhance the consumer experience by using printed sensor tags featuring Thinfilm's OpenSenseTM technology, which can detect both the sealed and opened state of each bottle. The tags and the sensor information they contain will allow Diageo to send personalised communications to consumers who read the tags with their smartphones.

The innovation, created by Thinfilm in collaboration with Diageo Technology Ventures, will make it possible to send consumers targeted and timely marketing messages, whether at retail or after purchase, such as promotional offers, cocktail recipes and exclusive content.

The technology allows Diageo to track bottle movements across the supply chain, in-store and to the point of consumption, with the sensor tags remaining readable even when the factory seal has been broken, providing an additional layer of security in protecting the authenticity of the product.

Unlike conventional static QR codes that are often difficult to read, easy to copy, and do not support sensor integration, OpenSenseTM tags can dynamically detect if a bottle is sealed or open with the simple tap of an NFC smartphone. To ensure authenticity, the tags are also completely and permanently encoded at the point of manufacture and cannot be copied or electrically modified.

Corrections and Clarifications

On pages 6 and 7 in issue 125, the captions to the two pictures were incorrect. The caption on page 6 relating to The Glasgow Distillery should have read 'From left, finance director Ian McDougall and CEO Liam Hughes.' The caption on page 7 relating to Wemyss should have read 'From left to right Douglas Clement and William Wemyss.'
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