Wednesday 21 June 2017

Toast the Macallan Australia, and the Macallan Double Cask 12 (Tasted #360)

The Macallan has had its fair share of moments over the past years, be it in Australia or in Hong Kong, with its various releases and events. The recent auction of The Macallan Lalique Legacy Collection; a collection of six rare Macallans made news globally when it sold for an incredible $993,000 USD at a charity auction. This was followed recently by the launch of the sixth official Masters of of Photography release which saw whisky from the post war 1940s / 1950s era blended with Macallan aged in ex-Rioja wine cask (see Martin's write-up from the HK launch here).

The prestige of the brand and the style of The Macallan has always drawn people to discussions on aged vs NAS, luxury vs affordable and old vs new (as commented by Andrew Derbridge in his Whisky & Wisdom article; The past, present and future collide) etc...

Nevertheless, the launch of The Macallan Double Cask 12yo in Australia this month has excited people once more and may mark the re-invigoration of aged Macallan malt in Australia since the 1824 series was last released in 2013. Speaking to Sietse Offringa, Global Brand Ambassador for The Macallan at the Toast the Macallan pop up dining earlier this month - he certainly shared a view that Australia is a market that Macallan has its eyes on, and we will have to watch this space for more exciting releases from The Macallan - perhaps Edition 3?!

The launch celebration saw the establishment of a pop up dining event series across both Brisbane and Sydney, dubbed 'Toast the Macallan' - Led by premium marketing and distribution company, Spirits Platform. The event was Spirits Platform’s first marketing initiative since its partnership with Edrington (which will see the company distributing The MacallanHighland ParkThe Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark in the Australian market) started in April 2017.

The event featured whisky tasting masterclasses led by Sietse and a three course menu curated by James Viles of Bowral's two hatted restaurant; Biota Dining. James Viles commented on his excitement to have worked with The Macallan to curate the menu, which saw a series of dishes that complemented three Macallan expressions, including the Fine Oak 12 Years Old, Double Cask 12 Years Old and the Macallan Rare Cask.

We joined the Sydney celebration and attended the pop up event held at Roslyn Packer Theatre, Walsh Bay. Upon arrival guests were presented with the opportunity to have their photos taken as well as savour a couple of Macallan cocktails - Fine Oak Copa and the Double Cask Old Fashioned.

The Roslyn Packer Theatre had been transformed to reflect the opulent nature of The Macallan and the special 'Toast the Macallan' occasion. Macallan bottles were plastered across the theatre wall and there was even an appearance by the Macallan that had been dubbed as the most expensive whisky in the world; The Macallan 'M Decanter' whisky from the 1824 Series. Unfortunately, there was no tasting of the M on the night though Sietse did bring it out for photos when we chatted with him on the night.

Led by James Viles, the selection of dishes were impeccably curated and paired. James introduced each dish, paired with a Macallan which Sietse would introduce.

The Fine Oak 12 was paired with an entree of smoked kingfish loin and showcased the marrying of the honied, fruity malt notes with the fresh, citrus fish dish. The citrus was also compounded with a side dish of citrus and wild fennel salad. I have always found food pairing to be an interesting challenge for chefs as paired dishes can either complement or over power a whisky, and striking a balance is often more challenging than it seems.

The newly released Double Cask 12 Year was paired with the main dish which to me was the highlight of the night. The fruity, citrus, sweet caramel and spiced characters of the Double Cask complemented the sweet and earthy glazed beef rib that was served with wild mushrooms. The glistening glazed beef rib was succulent and tender and the Double Cask pairing defied the old adage of serving meat with malt.

The dessert of honey creme with toasted rye and j choke ice cream elegantly helped to finish off the night, with the dish showcasing a textural play on the palate with the toasted rye bark and the nitrogen granulated ice cream. Served with The Macallan Rare Cask which I found to not be as rich as others found - the honied, fruity notes presented well with the sweet and malty ice cream.

Martin reviewed the Double Cask when it was released in Hong Kong last year in June, though I have appended some notes of mine from the night, to try and compare or perhaps find commonalities.

The Macallan 12yo Double Cask (40% ABV, 12yo, Highlands, Scotland, A$109.99, $548HKD)
An enjoyable every day dram either with or without a meal. The sweet, fruity and spiced nature of the Double Cask is fairly balanced and I found the overall malt quite fresh and zesty.

Colour: Gold.

Nose: Fresh with citrus, vanilla, raisins, candied orange, cloves - perhaps Christmas cake and dried fruits, followed by notes of stone fruits and black pepper.

Palate: I found the palate to be interesting - fresh, zesty, sweet caramel, honey, nutty, peanut bars even, bitter melon and starting to dwindle into this lighter, tannic spiced malt - nutmeg and more of that pepper.

Finish: The sherry influence is there. The finish is floral and medium long with lingering bitter sweetness and nuttiness.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. 

Thanks to the Edrington Group, Spirits Platform and Porter Novelli for having us on the night to celebrate the launch of the Double Cask in Australia.


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