A remarkable crystal decanter, containing some of the rarest single malt Scotch whisky in the world, arrived in Los Angeles yesterday for the penultimate stop of its global fundraising journey. Earlier this year, The Macallan and Lalique partnered to produce the one-of-a-kind decanter, made using the ancient cire perdue (“lost wax”) method. Created in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of René Lalique’s birth, this decanter holds the oldest and rarest Macallan ever bottled by the renowned Speyside distillery. The Macallan in Lalique: Cire Perdue decanter contains 1.5 liters of 64-year-old Macallan that 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 special Macallan has been taken.
The Cire Perdue decanter is the latest in a series of Macallan in Lalique decanters that began in 2004. These acclaimed decanters, which hold Macallan whiskies of 50, 55 and 57 years old, have become highly sought after by whisky aficionados and Lalique collectors alike.
After a Paris launch event in April 2010, the Cire Perdue decanter embarked on a 10-city traveling exhibit and fundraising tour around the world. At events in each city, 10 cl tastes from very limited reserves of The Macallan 64 Years Old were auctioned, with proceeds benefiting charity: water. The non-profit organization has funded over 2,900 water projects in 17 countries, bringing clean and safe drinking water to over a million people in developing nations.
Last night, The Macallan in Lalique: Cire Perdue decanter made its U.S. debut at Sotheby’s Los Angeles, where the final 10 cl of the 64-year Macallan was sold for a winning bid of $16,000. Prior to the auction, guests enjoyed drams of The Macallan, cocktails featuring various Macallan expressions, and passed trays of bites from Bouchon Beverly Hills. Besides two classics (the Rob Roy and the Blood & Sand), guests could choose from one of two Nouvelle Cocktails created by Bouchon mixologist Jason Navasartian: the Mac N’ Mary and the Golden Promise (recipes below).
For my first cocktail I opted for the Blood & Sand (The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Years Old, Cherry Heering, Carpano Antica, orange juice) and went to look at the Cire Perdue decanter up close. Pictures can capture some of its beauty, but seeing the decanter on display in person brought an entirely new level of appreciation for the skill and craftsmanship that went into its creation.
Next was the Mac N’ Mary: The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old, Green Chartreuse, lemon juice, rosemary and ginger-infused honey, tea, topped with ginger beer. With the temperature rising in the crowded room this tall cocktail was especially refreshing. Some guests congregated outside to escape the heat, but it wasn’t long before we were called back in for the auction to begin.
After a brief video and message from charity: water founder Scott Harrison, The Macallan’s US Brand Ambassador Eden Algie (resplendent in jacket and tartan pants) opened the bidding. In no time the bid had reached $4000. After a bit of goading from Algie, someone shouted a bid of $5000 if Algie would “lose the pants.” Thankfully, Algie stopped after taking off his belt.
To up the ante, Algie included a tasting of the ENTIRE Macallan range for the winning bidder and twenty friends. He sweetened the offer even further when he said the winner would also get a Thomas Keller-designed dinner at home, cooked by Bouchon Beverly Hills. Bouchon’s Chef de Cuisine Rory Herrmann encouraged the final bids by noting that he and his team “are never out of the kitchen” and this was truly a unique opportunity. With two bids at $7500 and $8000, Algie offered to kick in $500 of his own to seal the deal. And with that, the 10 cl of The Macallan 64 Years Old was sold for $16,000.
To celebrate the winning bid, guests were served drams of The Macallan 25 Years Old. (Don’t tell anyone, but I double-fisted mine.) To go with the 25-year-old Macallan, Bouchon Pastry Chef Sharon Wang made an incredible caramel with The Macallan 18-year, a standout from an evening filled with remarkable food and high end whisky.
The evening concluded with the Golden Promise, made with The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Years Old, Drambuie, Carpano Antica, and Cinnamon Caramel Syrup. All of the cocktails were very good, but the Golden Promise was the winner of the night.
Last night’s winning bid of $16,000 brings the total funds raised by The Macallan and Lalique to approximately $145,000. The proceeds will fund more than 29 specific, long-term charity: water projects and will serve more than 7,250 people with potable water. The final stop will be New York, where the decanter (and its precious contents) will be auctioned by Sotheby’s on November 15, 2010. All proceeds from the sale of the Cire Perdue decanter will be donated to charity: water.
Following is a list of the winning bids from the decanter’s Tour du Monde:
- Los Angeles, Nov. 3: $16,000 USD
- Osaka, Oct. 22: ¥1,100,000 (about $13,600)
- Singapore, Oct. 7: Sg$15,000 (about $11,470)
- Shanghai, Sep. 24: ¥101,888 (about $15,200)
- Taipei, Sep. 9: NT$1,300,000 (about $41,000)
- Seoul, Aug. 11: KRW 7,000,000 (about $5,900)
- Hong Kong, Jul. 17: HK$135,000 (about $17,300)
- Moscow, May 26: R180,000 (about $5,650)
- London, May 10: ₤6,000 (about $8,880)
- Paris, Apr. 6: €3,800 (about $5,000)
The question that comes to mind: if 10 cl tastes of the Macallan 64-year have sold for up to five figures, what price will 1.5 liters of the 64 and the exquisite Lalique decanter command? Consider that The Macallan is one of the most sought-after single malt whiskies in the rare whiskies auction market: a 60-year-old Macallan, distilled in 1926, sold for $75,000 to a South Korean buyer in 2005. The Cire Perdue decanter contains an even older expression, so there is a strong possibility that the sale price for the 60-year will be surpassed.
Lalique is also highly sought after by collectors around the world, with recent sales prices significantly exceeding pre-sale estimates. “Chardons,” a 1903 René Lalique jewel, sold for US$363,000 in October 2006 in New York. In October 2009, an Art Nouveau multi-gem and enamel pendant necklace by René Lalique was auctioned in New York for a world record US$554,500 (against an estimate of US$400,000).
The New York auction of The Macallan in Lalique: Cire Perdue promises to be an historic event. For more information and to register for the auction, visit: themacallan.com/the-partnerships/cire-perdue.
For images of other auctions around the world, the Cire Perdue decanter and more, visit The Macallan on Flickr.
Mac N’ Mary by Jason Navasartian
- 1 3/4 oz The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old
- 1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
- 1/2 oz Lemon juice
- 1/2 oz Rosemary and ginger-infused honey
- Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
- Top with ginger beer and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
Golden Promise by Jason Navasartian
- 2 oz The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Years Old
- 1/4 oz Drambuie
- 1/2 oz Carpano Antica Formula
- 1/4 oz Cinnamon Caramel Syrup
- Stir and strain into a coupe.
- Garnish with an orange peel.