Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tasting Macallan 50 yr Single Malt Scotch


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For several years in the late 90's and early 00's,  I was a purchaser at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia. Specifically, I was in charge of purchasing the wine, liquor, and beer. Every week I would put in my order for the hotel and its restaurant outlets. We aren’t talking about a couple bottles were and there. We are talking about liquor and wine orders of up to 40 cases, sometimes on special weekends, double that amount. One top of that, an average of 30 cases of various beer would be delivered by the beer guy. I would fill the orders of the bartenders and outlets and delivery them down to the various bars, restaurants, and banquet areas.

I also actively participated in tastings with the vendors that sold to us. Many times I took part in them knowing full well that I would not be carrying the vendors bubble gum flavored vodka in lobby bar, but just wanted to see what it tasted like! I would schedule liquor and wine tastings throughout the day. One particular day, I included a 10 am tasting from a vodka company, a 2 pm tasting of whiskies, and 6 pm red wine tasting in the Grill Restaurant. Somedays, I would have to put in the main food order for my boss, the director of purchasing, Big Daddy JW, as I affectionately referred to him. If it was a particularly full day with tastings, I had been known in the evening to mistakenly order 100 cases of romaine lettuce instead of 10. Thankfully, our food companies were nice enough to call and confirm that I really wanted 100 cases before putting processing the order for the night.


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One of the best tastings I was able to take part in was tasting the Macallan 50 year old Single Malt Scotch.  Our vendors Steve and Bob came in with a large wooden case containing the scotch. We talked before hand about the hotel purchasing a bottle of the expensive Single Malt.  Such a bottle would cost the hotel around $10,000. It would be seen as an investment and something we would get press for in Philly. "Come to The Vault Bar at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and taste the Macallan 50 year old Scotch! One of the only restaurants on the East Coast to carry such an expensive Single Malt Scotch!"  I was just writing the press releases in my head! I pictured business men coming in and buying a round at $500 a shot to impress their clients just like they did in buying a round of Louis XIII by Remy Martin, one of the most expensive cognacs in the world , at $200 a snifter.

After talking for about 15 minutes, I could hardly contain my excitement! I had retrieved 3 rocks glasses from The Vault for my and the two vendors to sit back and sip the fine Scotch. I wiped them clean several times to make sure nothing was present to throw the taste of a glass of this scotch.  I had tried the Macallan 10, 12, 18, 25, and 30 year, but this was the grand daddy of them all! 

Steve, our vendor, opened the wooden case and I was waiting to see what type of incredible crystal bottle the Scotch would be in! Would it be Lalique? Could it be Bacarrat like the Louis XIII cognac? Instead he brought out 3 glass droppers. Wha wha what? The record scratched to a halt. Into each glass, he emptied one dropper full of Macallan 50 year.  I just stared at the sip barely covering the bottom of the rocks glass. Just stared at it. For a good couple minutes.  Steve laughed and said to me, "What, did you think the three of us would drink the bottle?" Well, I thought, maybe? I began to laugh as well.

Having gotten over my disappointment, I smelled the Single Malt. I smelled caramel. Then I took a sip. It was smooth, so smooth. I breathed in. It was smokey, oaky, and peaty, just like I like my single malts. But oh so smoooooth! That sip was worth it. This was what a Scotch of this caliber should taste like.  No I did not get a nice heavy pour but I did get a priveleged tasting experience I will most likely never have again.

2 comments:

  1. So did you buy the whole bottle? I'm dying to know!

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  2. Great question! My Food & Beverage Manager at the time decided against it. Maybe he knew I would try and get a couple more sips! -Marc

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