Since 1824, the name Macallan has been synonymous with fine Scotch whisky. The only Scotch brand with its own “Master of Wood”, the Craigellachie, Moray, Scotland-based distillery is known for its commitment to mastery of distillation and wooden casks that produce some of the most sought-after expressions in the world. Its rare and special releases are difficult for even those in-the-know to get their hands on, and have only contributed to The Macallan’s legend among whisky lovers.
With the launch of The Macallan Room this past August, the brand sought to bring the best of its distillery and a world-first experience to Hong Kong’s K11 Musea. With an intimate back bar housing over 80 bottles of The Macallan Sherry Oak and The Macallan Rare Cask as well as opportunities to shop and even experience some of their rarest bottlings, there’s something for beginners, enthusiasts and aficionados alike as they taste discover some of the world’s most celebrated whiskies.
For a deeper dive into the Scottish distillery's one-of-a-kind experience, MARKETING talked to Macallan brand ambassador Patricia Byott to get the inside scoop on Hong Kong's newest whisky pilgrimage and what Macallan has in store for the future.
MARKETING: Tell me a bit about The Macallan Room in your own words.
Byott: The Macallan Room is the first of its kind in Hong Kong. With a discreet luxurious setting, It is an immersive and experiential retail experience where customers can connect with the brand on a personal level and delve into our history with our knowledgeable staff whilst being surrounded by some of the rarest expressions in our portfolio. Located in K11 Musea, Hong Kong’s newest luxury mall bringing together art, fashion and culture.
What are some of the special elements you’ve incorporated into the Room’s design and experience?
The Macallan Room is an inviting, friendly and comfortable space which encourages you to spend a lot of time there. The design itself is inspired by our history, legacy and stories of The Macallan showcasing some of the rarest bottles we have ever released alongside the newest expressions from the brand. The Six Pillars of The Macallan (the copper tune of our Smallest Pot Still, our Exceptional Oak Cask and the natural colour, exemplified by the amber-ish lighting) were subtly incorporated into the design.
What made you choose Hong Kong as your location for the world’s first Macallan Room?
Hong Kong is a key city in Asia, arguably in the world for The Macallan; here you will find a vibrant and educated whisky scene with customers who want to connect with our brand on an experiential and personal level. Opening The Macallan Room in Hong Kong allows us to really connect and engage with our Macallan customers on an exciting new level integrating both whisky, lifestyle and the wonderful stories of The Macallan.
How has the reception been so far?
The reception so far has been fantastic. Our customers love talking to and learning from our Macallan Room staff who introduce them to many styles of Macallan. For the seasoned Macallan drinker, being able to take pictures and see, in person, some of the rarest Macallan’s ever created such as the Fine and Rare Collection or The Exceptional Single Cask Series.
How are Asian whisky consumers different from those in say, Scotland?
Asian whisky consumers are very similar to those from Scotland, in-so-far as they enjoy the taste of whisky, the culture and friendship that comes along with it given that whisky is a very sociable drink. The Asian consumer is eager to learn and keen to explore the world of whisky which has transformed them into very sophisticated whisky drinkers over the past few years.
A whisky aficionado is definitely going to be excited about this, but how do you reach and market to the casual whisky enthusiasts who may feel intimidated by “whisky culture”?
To me, whisky should never be intimidating but I understand how it can be to the new drinker. My advice to new whisky drinkers is to just taste, explore and find your own whisky style; we all have one. Within The Macallan portfolio of whiskies we do have something for everyone, from beginners to aficionados and collectors. For example, our Double Cask or Triple Cask Ranges offers a lighter style of Macallan highlighting flavours of honey, toffee, and lemon citrus whilst still maintaining the brands complex and robust character which is a great place to start. For whisky enthusiasts they will find our Exceptional Single Casks and The Decanter Series a journey of wonderful exploration.
In a time where we’re still a bit socially distanced, bar access is reduced, how do you reach the consumer through Macallan whisky?
The Hong Kong consumer is still very eager to entertain, live life and see their friends if they can, even within the social distancing measures. What is great about The Macallan Room is that it is a small, intimate and immersive retail space where private tastings are invite only. Customers are able to visit us at their own leisure, learn about The Macallan and if, circumstances allow, enjoy a dram of The Macallan.
Do you have any events or campaigns planned to help activate the whisky loving community in Hong Kong?
Throughout the year we have many events, whisky tastings and product launches that the Hong Kong whisky community can be a part of. We suggest following our Facebook and Instagram pages to stay up to date with all of our upcoming events. You can even sign up to our customer database and you will receive emails of fun events and insightful timely product information.
Anything else you'd like to share about The Macallan Room?
The Macallan Room welcomes everyone and is a fantastic place to begin or continue your whisky journey. Not only will you be welcomed with a friendly smile, but our staff are on-hand to answer any whisky or brand related questions. Customers will be able to learn about many of our expressions and if interested, can also purchase some rare and exclusive Macallans, only available at The Macallan Room. Come to explore us at #themacallanroom at both Instagram and Facebook to see more stories about The Macallan Room.
“Pivoting to Hong Kong” is a series created with support from our partners at InvestHK. InvestHK’s vision is to strengthen Hong Kong’s status as the leading international business location in Asia. InvestHK works with overseas and Mainland entrepreneurs, SMEs and multinationals that wish to set up an office – or expand their existing business – in Hong Kong.