I thrive when the limitations seem insurmountable. The pie-in-the-sky, you-tell-me-when-I’ve-gone-too-far ideas seems... I don’t know, they're not easy, but they don't take the same kind of sweat and grit? Give me a budget, give me a cautious legal department, give me a risk-averse decision-maker. In my experience, those are the tougher nuts to crack, and they’re a lot more common. So let’s get to work and figure them out.
When I worked on The Macallan, one of the biggest challenges came about two weeks before launch: filling a flask is actually more difficult than it seems. That’s because, as it turns out, when people are paying fifteen hundred bucks for the vessel and the bottle of super rare, American Oak-aged scotch, they don’t want to spill any of it. So while just “pour until it starts to overflow” might be fine for that monogrammed groomsman gift you fill with Jim Beam, it ain’t for this.
My first thought was, people who carry around flasks don’t also carry around measuring cups. So I spent the better part of a day measuring exactly how much liquid fit in the flask and exactly what count and cadence of the pour would brim it without going over.
But then I thought, if you *were* buying scotch that could pay the rent on a pretty nice one-bedroom in most cities, there’s a good chance you were rationing out the exact amount, down to the drop, so none was wasted. In which case, we’ll tell you exactly how much you need and you can measure it. After all, this wasn’t a flask that gets snuck into a concert venue or stuffed in an inside pocket. You showed this off. You bragged. You took it out at exactly the right moments. You were precise with it. So I wrote a version that had precise measurements.
And maybe you weren’t either of those, so I wrote a version that used other objects you might have handy instead of a measuring cup. And one that took about as long to pour as it was to sing a couple bars of an old Scottish tune.
In the end, the brand decided that, yes, the man who drinks The Macallan thinks ahead and pours exactly what he needs.
It was one day out of four months of planning and writing. It was one small placard that was dropped in the package before the whole thing was sealed up. It was one small challenge in the midst of many larger ones, and it took three or four drafts to crack. But it was one of the most satisfying.
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