The Macallan in Lalique: Cire Perdue
Macallan has announced their newest release in the Lalique decanter line. This time it’s 64 years old, just one bottle, and it will be auctioned off for charity. (Press release below.)
I know that some of you have complained about old, ultra-expensive bottles being released. Auctioning off the bottle for charity is a noble effort.
The Macallan and Lalique launch THE MACALLAN 64 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT WHISKY IN LALIQUE : CIRE PERDUE
Following an Eight Month, Global Fundraising Exhibition, Sotheby’s to Auction this One-of-a-Kind Piece in New York with all Proceeds Benefitting charity: water
Paris, April 6, 2010: Iconic luxury brands The Macallan and Lalique have come together again on the 150th anniversary of Rene Lalique’s birth, building on their highly successful partnership to produce a one-of-a-kind decanter, created by the ancient “cire perdue” or “lost wax” method. This decanter will hold the oldest and rarest Macallan ever bottled by this highly regarded distillery. The Macallan in Lalique Cire Perdue decanter contains a 64 years old Macallan single malt whisky, destined for final auction by Sotheby’s on November 15, 2010 in New York. All of the proceeds of this remarkable piece will be donated to charity: water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. In an eight month traveling exhibit and fundraising journey, The Macallan in Lalique: Cire Perdue decanter will travel around the world from Paris to New York via Madrid, London, Moscow, Seoul, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Taipei, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.
The Cire Perdue decanter has been designed by the legendary French crystal house Lalique, exclusively for The Macallan. Painstakingly hand crafted with the skills for which Lalique has achieved world-wide recognition and renowned since the first fabulous glass pieces were designed and made by Rene Lalique in the first half of the twentieth century, the inspiration for the design has come from the beauty of The Macallan’s 150 hectare estate in north-eastern Scotland.
David Cox, Director of Fine & Rare Whiskies for The Macallan, comments: “We have established a very close working relationship with Lalique over the past six years. We share a heritage based on a commitment to craftsmanship and creativity, underpinned by a genuine passion to strive for the best in all our endeavours. This extraordinary project has raised our partnership to new heights, combining the brilliance of Lalique’s designers and craftsmen and the outstanding quality and character from the masters of spirit and wood at The Macallan to produce a single decanter which will never be replicated, filled with the oldest and rarest Macallan our distillery has ever released. Having decided to donate the proceeds from the auction of this beautiful decanter and its rarest of whiskies to charity, we decided to partner with charity: water. Given the predictions of future water shortages and recent natural catastrophes, we felt we wanted to contribute something really positive to help. We are hoping for some extraordinary generosity at the final auction in New York in November.”
“We are delighted that the proceeds from this historic auction of The Macallan in Lalique: Cire Perdue decanter will benefit charity: water,” said Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water. “Clean water projects bring communities together and offer improved health, a better quality of life and hope for a better future. I look forward to working closely with The Macallan and Lalique to bring clean water to some of the billion people on the planet without it.”
“Water is fundamental to the craftsmanship behind both The Macallan and Lalique,” continued Cox. “The word “whisky” derives from the Latin, “aqua vitae”, or “water of life”, and is one of the three natural ingredients of The Macallan, together with barley and yeast. Water is also critical for Lalique at the point of detailing, sanding and polishing the crystal pieces.”
The 64 years old Macallan has been vatted together from three casks, all built from sherry seasoned Spanish oak. The first was filled in 1942, the second in 1945 and the third in January 1946, from which the age of this great Macallan has been taken.
This Macallan is so rare for a couple of reasons; firstly The Macallan is widely recognized as one of the few single malts which can mature to a great age without losing its character to the powerful influence of Spanish oak maturation casks, seasoned with sherry, for which The Macallan is particularly well-known. The Macallan’s rich, oily spirit ensures the whisky achieves a balance and depth of aromas and flavours over many years in these casks, a balance often sought, but rarely achieved; secondly, this is the oldest Macallan ever released by the distillery in its 186 year history. Prior to the release of this 64 years old Macallan in the Cire Perdue decanter, the previous oldest Macallan released by the distillery was the 60 years old, distilled in 1926 and bottled in 1986, of which only forty bottles were ever produced.
Character of The Macallan 64 years old:
- The 64 years old Macallan has a lovely rich oak colour.
- On the nose, notes of peat smoke, dried orange peel, muscovado sugar and cedar wood, mixed with spicy cinnamon sticks and cloves.
- On the palate, spicy, blood oranges, rosin, treacle, walnuts, cocoa chocolate and peat smoke.
- The finish is soft, smooth and spicy, with lingering peats and dark chocolate
The decanter has been designed at Lalique’s Design Studio in Paris, based upon a ship’s decanter of the 1820’s, the decade in which The Macallan was founded, in 1824. Lalique’s designer felt the shape lent itself perfectly to the beautifully crafted panorama of The Macallan estate by the river Spey, in north east Scotland.
Lalique’s designer and craftsmen then worked to highlight the beauty of The Macallan’s estate, with its fields of barley, its woodlands, the river Spey flowing past its borders to the south and Easter Elchies House, The Macallan’s spiritual home built in 1700, lying at the heart of the estate.
The Macallan’s estate is unique among Scotch whisky distilleries. Spreading over 150 hectares on a plateau above the River Spey, this beautiful place has sustained generations of farmers and landowners over the centuries. Today, many of its fields grow the exclusive barley which lies at the heart of The Macallan spirit, while spring water from the estate boreholes combine with the barley and yeast to create the sublime single malt that is The Macallan. Among the estate woods grow mighty oak trees, which echo the oaks of northern Spain and the United States from which The Macallan’s exceptional casks are made, and which contribute so much of the final character of the whisky.
The decanter itself has been created by the lost wax process, an ancient practice originally developed to cast large pieces in bronze. After first modelling a piece in wax, it is covered with plaster and then sent to the oven to bake the clay while the wax melts. Finally, molten crystal is poured in the emptied shape. Up until 1930, Rene Lalique himself crafted glass pieces using the Cire Perdue technique, but abandoned it as arthritis increasingly affected his fingers.
Today, investing in the artistic and technical training of its artists to master again this extraordinary know-how, a new workshop has been created on the 150th anniversary of Rene Lalique’s birth in 1860, dedicated entirely to the ‘lost wax’ process, to make the first Cire Perdue pieces in eighty years, including The Macallan 64 years old in Lalique. Every piece is unique. Complex, time consuming and costly, the process is reserved for the ultimate pieces. The technique brings to light a fineness of detail never seen before and a unique texture that is likened to a « crystal skin, giving each piece a truly realistic and vivid aspect.
Silvio Denz, President and CEO of Lalique, commented, “We are enormously proud to be collaborating again with The Macallan, and in such a worthwhile cause. In today’s highly interconnected world, we are all increasingly aware of the needs of those much less fortunate than ourselves. We have been working on a series of decanters with The Macallan since 2004 and, over that time, have come to appreciate our shared values of a passionate commitment to outstanding quality, artistry and integrity. These decanters, each holding Macallan whiskies of 50, 55 and 57 years old respectively, have proved hugely admired and sought after around the world by whisky consumers and connoisseurs, as well as collectors of Lalique crystal and lovers of beautiful objets d’art. This latest decanter, a remarkable, unique work of art, holding such an old and rare Macallan, takes our partnership to a new level. I wish every success to its “tour du monde” and to the final auction by Sotheby’s in New York in November”.