Single malt Scotch whisky brand The Macallan is raising the stakes for this year’s Raise The Macallan tour, which after seven years has been redesigned to increase word of mouth by providing consumers even more knowledge about the whisky-making process. The revamped cocktail room experience, which launched over a four-week period in April and boots up again in October, focuses on interactive stations that highlight the brand’s six pillar distillation process, and includes a roundtable with commentary from a panel of culinary and whisky experts.
1. Stepping into the Estate
Guests enter the cocktail reception through a recreation of the exterior of the Easter Elchies House, the original location of the Macallan distillery, which lies at the heart of the brand’s estate in Scotland, and serves as the only distillery in the world that has a Spiritual Home.
2. Understanding the Equipment
A replica of Macallan’s curiously small still (an apparatus used to distill liquid mixtures) demonstrates how the unique size and shape ensures that there is maximum interaction between the whisky and copper, the element that provides the fruity, full-bodied flavors The Macallan is recognized for.
3. Choosing Flavor Profiles
At The Macallan Nose Station, the brand invites guests to smell four variations of the beverage to see which flavor profile fits them best. They are then directed to an iPad where The Macallan that matched their nose is revealed.
4. The Role of the Casks
The brand has the only distillery that still owns the entire process of making single malt scotch, which begins with the trees used to make its oak casks. Guests can see a timeline on a larger-than-life cross-section of a tree, with a projection on the rings. They are also invited to add to the timeline by digitally entering their own “Exceptional Moments.” Brand ambassadors then highlight select attendee moments during the presentation.
5. Natural Color Display
This experience allows consumers to see the colors that make up five different varieties of The Macallan based on how long each batch was aged—10, 12, 15, 18 and Rare Cask—by pressing a button that lights up select casks from a wall made of mini-casks filled with colored liquids.
6. Custom Label-Making
The brand showcases a giant bottle of Macallan 12 with a flat screen embedded in it to highlight its self-proclaimed status as “The Peerless Spirit.” Guests can use their phones or on-site iPad kiosks to create their own custom bottle label, which appears on the screen and is additionally emailed to the guest.
The Raise The Macllan tour also includes a Dram Cam photo experience, where consumers are photographed toasting over a dram of Macallan in birds-eye-view style. Photos tagged with #raisethemacallan are printed immediately on-site and participants receive them digitally for social sharing.
“We have a philosophy here of continuous improvement so we’re always trying to find ways to optimize what we’re doing, bringing the experience factor to the next level,” says Samantha Leotta, brand manager at The Macallan. “We enhanced the educational component; whisky knowledge is social currency so we made sure to really emphasize those components as part of the overall presentation.” Agency: SoHo Experiential, New York City.