If it's the sherry casks that make Macallan, what does that say for the quality of the spirit? A substandard malt from a tired cask is one thing, but one presumes that bourbon barrels labeled "Fine Oak" would be up to snuff. (Looking forward to Glen Googly Snuff Cask.
) I understand the business decision to roll out this line, but one wonders whether these casks were filled with the express intent of sending them off to the blenders, and what effect that intent might have on the finished product. Either Macallan are pushing a line that does not show off their whisky at its best, or else the body under that lovely dress wasn't what we thought it was when we left the bar.
As to price, I learned long ago that pricing is done to match perceived market conditions, not according to what you or I might think of as intrinsic value. To some extent, Macallan (and every other distiller, and indeed every other producer of goods and services of any kind) charge what they do for their product because they can. And when the product is in short supply, as often happens in the whisky world, the price will find its own level. You and I make the judgment as to whether the bottle is worth $79; when the price reaches such a level that there are exactly as many people willing to pay it as there are bottles, it is high enough. To sell at a price lower than that would only aggravate shortages and encourage the black market.
Another example of pricing what the market will carry is in the North American automobile industry. Identical models of cars are significantly cheaper in Canada than in the US for no other reason than that the industry perceives the price points at which Canadians will buy a given car are lower than those Americans are willing to pay. (But don't bother thinking about getting your next car north of the border--the impediments to importation more than make up the difference.)