Sweden is a important market for whiskies in general and malts more specifically. Edrington, through their marketing division – Maxxium, arranged last year a very special trip for a few Swedes (and one or two Norwegians I think) – and doing it again this year. Last time it was to Orkney and Highland Park, while this time it’s off to Speyside and The Macallan Distillery.
But first a bit of a recap: The first trip was called “Return of the Vikings” and included a specially chartered flight from Stockholm to Orkney (with a whisky tasting en route), two nights accomodation, dinners, tours, lots of whisky and a “very speical” bottling of Highland Park called – “Return of the Vikings”. All that cost a mere €1200. Participants felt a bit cheated a few months later when the Highland Park Ambassador’s Cask #4 was released, as it was the same cask – though this cost a mere £225 (€284 with the rate at that time). This created a bit of noise which resultet in the participants receiving a further bottle (35cl) called “Return of the Vikings 2″ – this time with a expressed guarantee that the rest of the cast would not be bottled as a single cask bottling.
This brings us onto this year’s trip.
As said the destination this time is The Macallan Distillery in Speyside. The trip is called “Inside The Macallan” and includes transportation from Edinburgh or Glasgow to the distillery (you must get yourself to one of these cities before 1130am, as the bus leaves at that time), accomodation for two nights (at nearby hotels but a few rooms at Easter Elchies will be given to those who book early (randomly picked)), meals (BBQ and 6-course dinner) with drinks (including Macallan Fine & Rare 1976), tours, trips and of course a special bottling. This time it’s a bottling that will be made available for the general public, although in very limited numbers – ”The Burns Bottling” (celebrating 250 years of Robert Burns).
So the trip it self is without full transportation this time, and the pick up time (1130am) means that meny who want to go have to stay an extra day in Scotland to make the early pick up – in it self not the worst thing that could come to pass. But why not get everybody to come to Aberdeen instead, sparing people from a 187 mile bus trip. The trip from Aberdeen is just around 60 miles, driven in just over an hour. When flights to and from Scotland isn’t included you’d think the price would go down compared to last years HP-trip? But alas no, they’ve put it up to €1400 or 12.314 NOK. Even with just 50 spots to fill, the feedback from Swedish whisky fans can be summed up with one commet nicked from a Swedish whiskyforum: “gready bastards“.
What then about the whisky? Just 250 bottles will be made and with 50 gone to the participants of the trip (if fully booked) there are 200 bottles left to share with the rest of the world (although a handful will most likely be kept back at the distillery for internal uses and VIP-guests). As it’s a Macallan the price tag will probably be a hefty one, as it’s “a very special bottling”. But according to the fine people at Macallan/Edrington/Maxxium or whoever has written the invite to the trip the specially selected cask both have the same cask number, and lo and behold it just happens to be the number 1759 – the year of Robert Burns’ birth. What a coincidence! And it’s not as if it’s very old either, as the casks picked where distilled in 1997 and 1998 – so it’s a dual cask bottling of 10/11 year old Macallan. Cask selected for their cask numbers, not for quality or flavour. Give me a break. Just to make the bottles nice and collectable it’s bottled in an attractive (hopefully) decanter and comes with a box made from Ayrshire oak.
If anybody’s interested to spend €1400 on a trip to Macallan the tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday 20th March – http://www.themacallan.se (just in Swedish I’m afraid). The trip it self is from Wednesday 3rd June 11.30am (pick-up in Edinburgh/Glasgow) to Friday 5th June 2pm (drop off in Edinburgh/Glasgow).