Lovers of aged and rare cask scotch are skewing younger as Boston's millennials embrace the best of the Highlands.
Millennials are quenching their thirst for novelty with high-end Scotches like The Macallan Rare Cask.
The top end of the Scotch market expanded by 6.4 percent in 2014, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. What’s creating this thirst for the very best of Scotland’s distilleries? Internationally, demand is strong in emerging markets, while here in the US, millennials have become a driving force, with a seemingly unquenchable desire for high quality and new experiences. The Macallan Rare Cask is one coveted taste for Boston’s young Scotch fans. Todd Lipman, head sommelier and director of the cocktail program at Bistro du Midi, sees the best meeting the brightest at the bar.
What’s driving the popularity of rare cask Scotch in Boston? Scotch whisky is experiencing the largest boom in the spirits category. This is due to a combination of expanding markets, led by the Chinese and Russians, as well as millennials looking to explore. They come in the door a bit more familiar, whether that’s direct familiarity through having sampled these products or by reading about them online or in print. Marketing also plays a role by setting these things apart. Having something unique or rare intrigues people.
How has the concept of experience captured the market? From the level of age-specific demographics, Scotch was not necessarily on the tip of younger peoples’ tongues. Marketing campaigns and a vast array of offerings from individual distillers are eye-opening. Distilleries are offering many expressions that say to young drinkers, “You’ve seen this in your parents’ liquor cabinet, but here we have this, this, and this that are new, exciting, and rare. Get it while you can.” People enjoy unique experiences as well as being a part of something that has exclusivity.
What makes this year’s Rare Cask offering appealing to this demographic? The Macallan Rare Cask has a certain richness of character. The notion of a longer time in oak, using newer oak and unique expressions of oak, is appealing to people because it produces familiar flavors. The Macallan Rare Cask exhibits flavors of vanilla and a little chocolate and cocoa, with a citrus finish. These are all tastes that are easy for the palate to pick up on. Bistro du Midi, The Heritage on the Garden, 617-426-7878