Dial M for a memorable whisky launch

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I’m in Hong Kong where I last night attended the launch event for The Macallan M at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (The Moodie Report was the exclusive travel retail media at the event), writes Rahul Odedra

The decanter is not only the latest collaboration between the distiller and Lalique, but also one of huge importance to the company. As we will explore in an upcoming exclusive look at the story of its creation, M is now The Macallan’s flagship product and another strong statement about its move away from age statements.

I’ve been tracking its development over the past few months, with visits to both The Macallan distillery in Scotland and the Lalique factory in France. It’s the sort of story that shows just why the single malt sector is so vibrant right now. It combines, innovation, tradition, skill and excellence. Added to that the exclusivity factor with only 1,750 decanters being produced in the first year.

Guests get their first glimpse of the M decanter as it is lowered into the Grand Hall
Guests get their first glimpse of the M decanter

Around 800 guests were in attendance at the event last night and, while the majority were from the Hong Kong domestic market, a strong core of travel retail representatives were eager to find out what The Macallan had up its sleeve.

If the venue, the site of the of Hong Kong handover ceremony in 1997, gave a hint as to the scale of the occasion, what we all experienced inside confirmed the importance of this launch to The Edrington Group.

Actor Geoffrey Wong masterfully compered the evening, while the grandeur of the occasion was emphasised by the stirring sounds of the Hong Kong Symphonia, on stage to play pieces by Tchaikovsky and Johann Strauss II.

The meal, meanwhile, was inspired by The Macallan’s Six Pillars, with various courses reflecting its Spiritual Home – Easter Elchies House, its Curiously Small Stills, the Finest Cut, the Exceptional Oak Casks and the Natural Colour.

The Macallan Director of Malts Ken Grier presents M
The Macallan Director of Malts Ken Grier presents M

On this special night, the sixth pillar was of course M itself, with a giant version of the crystal decanter lowered into the Grand Hall in theatrical style amid dry ice and a light show. We all then got a taste of the scarce liquid itself.

According to The Edrington Group, it was the biggest launch event they have ever hosted in the region and attendees I spoke to were unable to recall any single malt launches which matched the scale.

As some of the images here show, there was intense interest in the decanter, with crowds gathering around it to take pictures with their mobile phones. The launch also piqued the interest of the media from across the region, with a flurry of TV crews present at a press conference today.

Next week will see the retail launch of the product at one of the region’s top airports, with a leading luxury travel retailer. I’ll be on the scene again, witnessing the next chapter of the M story.

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Over 800 guests attends the spectacular event, and were entertained (below) by the Hong Kong Symphonia

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Guests enjoy a sample of the new M spirit (above) and clamour for photos of the exciting launch (below)

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