Friday, 29 June 2018

The Macallan Edition No.4 Launch in Hong Kong (Tasted #390)

Just a few weeks after we attended the launch of The Macallan New Distillery and Visitor Centre, Edrington HK were back at it again with the launch of Edition No.4, along with the HK presentation of the new distillery.

Ken Grier (whom we first met during the Lalique 65yo "The Peerless Spirit" launch) was in town to introduce the new distillery, and guide HK's media through a tasting of the new Edition, alongside a four course menu at Quarry Bay's ArtisTree.



As Edrington's many Hong Kong launch events have proven, the company likes to celebrate new products properly, and this was no exception. The space was set up with a panoramic screen (showing scenes from the new distillery and The Macallan estate), a large model of the new distillery and estate, and two tables for the forty or so media guests.



After a welcome dram and some reminiscing about the epic Macallan trip some of us had taken a few weeks prior, we settled into our seats for the first course - Oak smoked ocean trout, Vanilla scented cauliflower, Apple creme & burnt caramel splash, paired with The Macallan Triple Cask 12yo (previously known as Fine Oak 12yo). The two complemented each other well, with the whisky adding a serious creaminess to the trout.



Confit pigeon breast, coffee crumble, roasted parsnip & dried sour cherry jus was next, paired with The Macallan Double Cask 12yo (which despite a lot of online comments, is actually a 100% sherried whisky, made from a mix of ex-American and ex-European Oak casks). A delicious dish on its own, the Double Cask accentuated the gamey notes in the pigeon, in a good way.


Before the next course Ken Grier got up to say a few words about the new distillery, and give us a quick run through The Macallan's history, commenting on the linkage between the project and the new Edition No.4. Whereas Edition No.1 focused on cask types and Edition No.2 & Edition No.3 focused on collaborations (2 with The Roca Brothers, 3 with Roja Dove), Edition No.4 takes its inspiration, Ken explained, from the new distillery itself, aiming to be a layered dram, echoing the layering of elements which make up the new distillery.

Specifically, the casks (which The Macallan have always given a surprisingly large amount of information about, for the Edition series), 7 types in total, are said to represent the Capstone, Structure, Form and Foundation of the new distillery, as follows:
  • Capstone: European/American Oak Refill Butts
  • Capstone: European/American Oak refill Hogsheads
  • Structure: American Oak First Fill Vasyma Hogheads
  • Form: European Oak First Fill Diego Martin Rosado Butts
  • Form: European Oak First Fill Jose Y Miguel Martin Butts
  • Foundation: European Oak First Fill Tevasa Butts/Puncheons
  • Foundation: European Oak First Fill Tevasa Hogsheads


Our next course was 48 hours braised short rib, root vegetable and bacon lentil, porcini mashed potato, caramelised baby carrot & Bengal pepper jus, paired with old favourite The Macallan Sherry Cask 12yo. Strongly-flavoured meat and a decently-sherried whisky are often a good match, and this was no exception.




It was then time to taste the new Edition No.4, which had been tantalisingly sitting in front of us for the past 10 or so minutes...



The Macallan Edition No.4 (48.4% ABV, NAS, Highlands, Scotland, $890HKD)
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Colour: Copper-orange gold

Nose: Figs, creme caramel, some ginger and a slight note of salted caramel. Honey, toffee.

Palate: Lighter and less sherry-dominant than I remember No.1 and No.2 being. Lots of ginger spice and warming lemon zest. Then some mandarin, more ginger, toasted hazelnuts and toasted oak.

Finish: Well that's different. Oak, but lots of lemon zest and juicy ripe mandarins. 

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale):  91/100. Delicious - one of the best yet.



It also paired incredibly well with the dessert of Chocolate creme, burnt marshmallow, Graham cracker ice cream and bitter chocolate soil, but then you kind of expect a whisky like the Edition No.4, with its toffee, honey and ginger notes, to pair well with a dessert like this.



Afterwards it was time to head back to reality (and anxiously wait the August release date of Edition No.4), but to tide us over Edrington gave us each one of these fantastic little miniature kits, with a diorama of the new distillery. Very cool indeed (and no surprise to learn it was designed by Bompass & Parr, designers of many a whimsical and crazy setting).

 

The Macalan Edition No.4 will be released in Hong Kong in August priced at $890HKD. Thanks to Edrington HK to the invitation to the launch (and for the beautiful collectible miniature diorama set).

Cheers,
Martin.

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