Julie Macklowe Of Macklowe Whiskey And The Journey Of A Luxury American Single Malt

Not all superheros wear capes. Some wear heels and carry a fanny pack with extra labels and caps for their high-end American single malt bottles.

Julie Macklowe is a non-stop energy source, intent on producing the best high-end, luxury American single malt whiskey. And she’s living her best life doing what she loves.

In just over a year, her Macklowe Whiskey already has a coveted first-launch bottle that brings thousands on the secondary market, a host of gold from the awards scene, and her American single malt liquid is nestled in the shelves of the highest end restaurants in New York, Dallas, and Beverly Hills.

Macklowe Whiskey

Julie Macklowe is a non-stop energy source, intent on producing the best high-end, luxury American single malt whiskey. And she’s living her best life doing what she loves. (image via Macklowe Whiskey)

But to understand the dynamo that brought this luxury whiskey brand to the American people, you have to go back to the beginning.

Julie hails from Aspen, Colorado, where her father ran the famed Ruthie’s restaurant. Into her teen years, she moved to New York City. Then to the desert of Phoenix, Arizona. An overachiever, she graduated high school at the top of her class, and went to study finance at the University of Virginia.

After graduating from college with three degrees, she immediately jumped into the finance ring at Goldman Sachs, then JP Morgan. The private equity world was small, and the airline miles started to rack up. She worked in Israel, then Hong Kong, then Korea.

This is where her work ethic was formed, in the boardrooms and in the bars.

“It was here I started going out with management. It was a real boys club. They were drinking whiskey, so I started drinking whiskey,” Julie said. “It was an assimilation drink. But I wanted to be in that club.”

Back in the states, and back to New York City, the love of whiskey was growing and she discovered the world of Scotch. “I remember thinking, ‘some women shop for clothing, I shop for whiskey.’”

In her many travels, she made her way across Scotland and Islay and sampled some of the finest Scotch in the world. “And I wondered how come there’s not a ‘high end, luxury American single malt?’”

That was five years ago, and that question turned into a quest. She asked a few friends in the Scotch whisky business how one goes about making a fine single malt, and the ideas started flowing. The ball started rolling.

“I’m thinking about the angel’s share for our whiskey, and I think ‘yeah, the angels are watching over the whole process,” she said, talking about the many mentors that helped get the Macklowe brand off the ground.

When the Covid pandemic hit, there were two years where everything slowed, and during that time, she developed the design of Macklowe’s bottles, packaging, and the whole process.

She had a collection of more than a thousand whiskeys, watching over them in her home bar in her Fifth Avenue apartment.

Taking inspiration from a flask, cologne bottles, and jewelry, Julie put her spin on a high-end whiskey bottle. She gathered single casks of specially-selected Bull Run Whiskey from Portland, Oregon, and brought them to age in the seasonal changes of Kentucky.

Master Distiller and Blender Ian MacMillan has been along each step of the whiskey’s aging and tasting phases, and his expertise has helped bring the gold. They’re making a single malt with 100-percent Kentucky barley, and that’s going to be the Macklowe standard for their brand. The sweet mash will be unique to the single malt and they’re constantly evolving.

And while they wait on their own single malt to mature, Julie and Ian are touting that first bottling from the single cask they selected, one known simply as cask 61.

In all, 237 bottles from their first go have been allocated to high-end liquor stores and restaurants, including New York’s Eleven Madison Park, Jean-Georges, the Polo Bar, and Le Pavillon.

Something special about these bottles, they were all hand-painted in Asia, with their shape looking just like the flask Julie carries around with her.

Her mantra, she said, was to always “drink what you like, not what somebody is telling you to like.”

She strives for perfection, and if she’s anywhere around her bottles, she’s checking the condition. She might reach into her fanny pack for an extra cap or something to touch up a label on a bottle somewhere.

“It’s really important to always give the best product,” she said. “I don’t believe in perfect. I’m always inspiring to do things better.”

Because for her and her path through the whiskey industry, “It’s really about the journey. It’s an exploration.”

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