Two fingers of this American single malt whiskey will cost you an arm and a leg – but the daughter-in-law of real estate mogul Harry Macklowe is betting that it will become a fixture at swanky bars nationwide.
Julie Macklowe, who is married to Harry’s son Billy, has created a line of whiskeys called The Macklowe, a name which may bring to mind New York City’s next super-skyscraper but is in actuality a passion project for the mother of two.
At a launch party held Monday at The Shanghai, a new cocktail lounge inside Hutong — the upscale eatery famed for its flaming Peking Duck and dim sum at the Bloomberg Tower in Midtown – she unveiled Macklowe’s Kentucky Gold Edition.
The whiskey, a 10-barrel blend, sells for $250 a bottle, and is a relative bargain versus the $1,500 Macklowe Black single cask edition, which last year won double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
“The $250 bottle, Macklowe Gold, is also a better price point because it allows for $40-$45 shots. It’s not $20 a shot but it is a premium (liquor) that is accessible,” she told Side Dish.
Macklowe, 46, has invested “south of $5 million” since 2019 to create the ultra-refined whiskeys.
The first bottles were delivered during the pandemic, in 2021, and she launched the $1,500 single malt at her leather-and-lingerie 45th birthday party for 600 people in December 2022.
The business generated around $1.3 million in revenue last year, Macklowe said.
Her interest in whiskey first began two decades ago when she started collecting the spirits as a 23-year-old finance grad while working in Asia.
Over the years, she wondered why there were so few high-end single malt American whiskeys.
“It was so strange, I thought I should go create it,” said Macklowe, who previously ran Steve Cohen’s consumer retail fund and did something similar for Israel Englander’s hedge fund.
“I was the token female portfolio manager back then. Alcohol is similar and there is a comfort level there. I am used to working in all-male environments.”
The process to create her prized whiskey begins with malt grown in Danville, Ky., near Louisville. The distillers, however, are in Scotland.
A lot of the tastemaking and blending gets done with the help of FedEx. Kentucky whiskey is shipped to Scotland where it is evaluated, then sent back with Macklowe doing many of the tastings and blends in her New York office over video with her Scotland team.
“They lead me, I follow and we approve it together,” she said.
While Macklowe participates in the tastings, she is more involved in the brand’s packaging and marketing.
She is currently targeting high-end restaurants in New York; Dallas; Aspen, Colo.; Los Angeles; Las Vegas; Miami and Toronto, as well as limited retail outlets, cruise ships, and Flexjet G4 jets, where fliers are offered “Gold fashioned” cocktails made with Macklowe Gold, she said.
Macklowe says this is no vanity project but a full-time business that — like real estate — she also wants to leave for her children.
“I want this to be a family business that my 16-year-old and 5-year-old daughters can be involved in one day,” she said. “I think about my girls and my hope is they will be in both businesses. I like the idea of girl power.”