Tuesday 16 November 2021

The Macallan Harmony Collection "Rich Cacao" [Tasted #544]

The Macallan Hong Kong launched the first release in "The Harmony Collection" today, a new annual series filling the hole left by the "Edition" series, which came to an end with last year's Edition No.6.

The first release, "Rich Cacao", celebrates chocolate and sustainability through a collaboration with Jordi Roca, of famed Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. The Roca brothers have been collaborating with The Macallan for several years now (long-time readers might remember our El Celler de Can Roca dinner in the grounds of The Macallan estate for the launch of the new distillery in 2018)), but this is the first major/global release of a whisky produced in collaboration with family.

The story goes that:

"The Macallan Whisky Maker Polly Logan embarked on a unique journey to Girona, Spain, where she immersed herself in the world of chocolate, exploring the chocolate-making process and uncovering the distinctive flavour profiles at Casa Cacao.

Polly worked with Jordi Roca, owner of the famed chocolate boutique and hotel, Casa Cacao and the youngest of the acclaimed Roca brothers. As part of the exploration, she also spent time with master chocolatier of Casa Cacao, Damien Allsop."
..and that on return to the distillery, Polly sought out both American and European oak Sherry casks displaying the most chocolate-like characteristics.

The packaging and labelling also presents a new direction for the distillery, with a much bigger focus on sustainability. The box is 100% recyclable, and both the box and labels are made from a mixture of fibres including cacao shell.

To celebrate the launch, The Macallan held a series of tastings at The Macallan Room in K11 Musea, paired with a local honey-infused chocolate from Vero Chocolates along with a cocoa-dusted orange wheel.

Both these pairings brought out varied and delicious notes in the whisky, but I was most interested to see how the whisky fared on its own, and to see just how chocolatey it really was..

The Macallan "The Harmony Collection" Rich Cacao (44% ABV, NAS, Speyside Scotland, $1,800HKD)
Colour: Amber gold.

Nose: Sweet ginger at first, then honey. There's that trademark sherried-Macallan note (I call it a slightly "flinty" note, but I wouldn't call it sulphur here) and some apricot after time.

Palate: Initially, a lot more ginger and spice than I expected. Cinnamon, orange, fruity spices and more ginger. Honey, sure, but not much chocolate (at first). After some time, dark chocolate and chocolate orange notes emerged, true to its name. 

Finish: Medium to long in length, with spiced honey and some cinnamon to the end.

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 91/100. A well-constructed Macallan, true to the notes listed on the box (cinnamon, dark chocolate, honey, dates, vanilla). To my palate, there was more ginger, honey and cinnamon than chocolate, but you could definitely taste the chocolate after time. I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes with future releases (though with a starting point almost double the Macallan Edition 6, hopefully not too further in terms of price)! No word on the total number of bottles released.

The Macallan "The Harmony Collection" Rich Cacao is available from 22nd Nov for $1,800HKD. The pop-up experience at K11 Musea (5/F) runs until mid December.


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