A night with a Macallan scotch expert

Seminole Casino Coconut Creek likes to play up the theme “Live the Good Life,” holding events such as the scotch tasting the presented at NYY Steak earlier this month.

I’m not much of a scotch guy, but my son-in-law is, and gratefully accepted my offer as a plus-one. The night was overseen by Mario Freixas, national brand ambassador for Macallan, and my having a connection to Macallan was less likely than hitting an inside straight.

But it turns out my son-in-law, also named Nick (he goes by Nick2 in our home) chose Macallan at the duty-free shop for his in-room beverage when he and my Diane honeymooned in Costa Rica last December. And, like in his selection of brides, he made an excellent choice, he said.

Scotch has a lot more variance than its fellow “whiskey” – bourbon – Nick2 explained and Freixas confirmed.

“There are a wide variety of profiles in scotch compared to bourbon,” Freixas said.

The way Freixas explains it, the quality of scotch depends greatly on the cask and the aging. Macallan, based in Moray, Scotland, makes its own cask from a bourbon barrel in the open market.

“We harvest the Oak Trees, cut them into staves, let them air dry for three years. The we forge a cask and season it with sherry for up to an additional three years,” Freixas told the crowd of about 50. “Then we fill it with new make (the raw liquid off the stills) and let it age for whatever the bottle says.

“It’s extremely time-consuming, extremely expensive and they’re extremely rare casks.”

How to serve? Freixas said pour it neat or with a few drops of high-quality water.

We were seated in NYY Steak with four flights of scotch in front of us, aged 10, 12 and 15 years, and a Rare Cask, developed after  the master whisky maker, Bob Dalgarno, handpicks from less than 1 percent of the thousands of casks maturing at the Macallan distillery.  Some of our tablemates were also scotch devotees, others were more like me. (Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, naturally, took care of some of its big players.)

The first course was crispy pork belly, followed by smoked lobster hash, seared wagyu tenderloin steak and petite fours for dessert.

We alternated sips of scotch as each course arrived, talked about food, sports and casinos and I nudged my untouched serving of Rare Cask to my son-in-law, who appreciated it.

We also both appreciated the passion of Freixas, who explained a world I was not familiar with. For more on Macallan, email him at MarioFreixas@Edrington.com or go to TheMacallan.com.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.