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Interview: MacCallan Scotch starts off Queen Mary's 2014 Barrel Series

The Queen Mary in Long Beach will present Scotch and cigars on the Verandah Deck at the Peerless Spirit MacCallan Scotch Dinner on February 20
The Queen Mary in Long Beach will present Scotch and cigars on the Verandah Deck at the Peerless Spirit MacCallan Scotch Dinner on February 20
Edward Simon

Building on the popularity and success of their 2013 Tasting Dinners, the Queen Mary has announced exciting new dinners and features for 2014. In an exclusive interview today with Twain Schreiber, the Queen Mary's Director of Food and Beverage, the scoop was given on what new things are in store for this upcoming year. “We looked at 2013 and we did the Jack Daniels Dinner, we did a Scotch dinner and we did a wine dinner. We looked at the wine dinner, and although we had a great success with the wine dinner, everyone, whether it's restaurants, hotels or wineries, does a wine dinner. We look at what we'd done and the dinners were very unique and it was kind of a great production we put on. So we looked at the Queen Mary and said, 'How can we emphasize what kind of a great ship this is?' So we looked at the four we've selected for this year; the MacCallan Scotch Dinner, then Mount Gay Rum Dinner, where we'll finish with the Mt. Gay Black Barrel that I blended when I was in Barbados, the Herradura Tequila Dinner, which we've got some great surprises coming. I am going to go down to Mexico and do a Double Reposado which you can't find anywhere and it's so, so cool. We'll also have a reposado that was aged in a port wine barrel and one that's aged in a cognac barrel. Then there's the Jack Daniels Whiskey Dinner, which is the final one of the year. We'll have the barrel, which we're going to pick out and will also have a super surprise which we've picked out. It's going to be called the Sinatra Select”.

Guests enjoy cocktails before one of 2013's Tasting Dinners in the Queen's Salon
Edward Simon

For the first dinner, the Peerless Spirit Scotch Dinner, Twain explained that MacCallan does not have actual barrels available. Instead, they will be bringing in four different scotches for the evening. Featured Single Malt Scotches will be MacCallan 12 Year Old Scotch, both a Highland Park 15 and 18 Year Old Scotch, as well as the MacCallan 15 Year Old Scotch to be served with dessert. A special feature with the evening will be one of the most popular of the things that has been done for last year's dinners. After the final dessert course, guests will retire to the Verandah Deck to enjoy the beautiful night skyline of Long Beach from the Queen Mary's deck. While there, they will have the opportunity to enjoy fine Cohiba USA cigars from General Cigar Company. To cap the evening off, Kieron Elliot, the Brand Ambassador from MacCallan in Scotland, will be bringing a special surprise to be enjoyed by all with the cigars. This will be something that cannot be found in the United States. As Twain remarked, “It will be something new to taste that no one who hasn't been to Scotland has ever had. That's how we'll have fun with this dinner”.

A new feature with this year is a special discount for buying a number of the series' dinners. Last year, each dinner was $130.00 per person. As Twain said, “If you look at what you get---welcome cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, dinner courses with featured spirits tastings and then the aperitif with cigars while enjoying the beautiful skyline view off the stern deck of the Queen Mary, then it is a very good deal for the price”. This year, the per person price is the same, but if a guest purchases more than one of the dinners in the series, they will get a discount. That can range up to a total of $440.00 for all four dinners, working out to a total of over $80.00 savings on the year's package. “We've got a lot of fun things going on that traditional restaurants cannot possibly provide”, he continued. “They don't have the resources or the space to pull off what we can pull off”. Indeed, based upon the spectacular events that the Queen Mary produced last year, this year promises to up the ante for amazing, one-of-a-kind events.

“There's no bad Scotch out there”, Twain remarked. “It's all what your palate likes. But Scotch is on the rise; it's gotten incredibly popular”. Twain pointed out that New York's hipster crowd is very much into Scotch and that the Scotch market has risen by almost 200 percent in 2013. “Scotch has so many unique characteristics, from the peat that;s in them to the barley to the smokiness, even from the water used. You can have so much fun with them, from a cocktail though just a glass straight up”. With the MacCallan Peerless Spirit Scotch Dinner, a great chance will be had to taste some marvelous Scotch, he exquisite menu, the films or special guest to complement the theme. “It's about being in the wonderful Queen's Salon for the special evening, then being able to walk onto the deck and see the amazing skyline. It almost transports you back to the day when the ship was sailing, in it's glory days in the 30's and 40's”. Indeed, as Twain added, “It makes everything so unique in really celebrating Long Beach and what the Queen has to offer.”

The Peerless Spirit MacCallan Scotch Dinner will occur on February 20 in the Queen's Salon on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Tickets are available through the Queen Mary's website or by calling (877) 342-0738.

The Queen Mary

1126 Queens Highway

Long Beach, CA 90802