Here's why The Macallan Edition No.3 could change your beliefs about whisky
One of a kind
When it comes to whisky, there are three schools of thought. One: You love it. Two: You hate it. Three: You don't understand it.
Most of us fall into the third category. We tip-toe around the idea of the golden amber liquid, constantly afraid or nervous of saying something wrong around the "members-only" aficionados. We view it as a drink for the elitists or men in expensive suits, hence the apprehension to appreciate it.
Master perfumer Roja Dove once belonged to the second category. He wasn't the biggest fan of whisky, until an unlikely affinity sparked between himself and The Macallan — and as a result, The Macallan Edition No.3 was created. Sparking notes of citrus, vanilla, fresh cut oak and delicate florals, the drink embodies a rich, fruity and sweet character.
Truly, this limited edition whisky is unlike no other bottle from The Macallan brand. But with Dove on board, one thing was definitive — everything in the mix stemmed from the almighty sense of smell. Of course, what else would you expect from a renowned perfumer? We sat down with the man himself to talk noses, synergy with The Macallan brand, and how vital sense of smell is when it comes to sipping on a glass of whisky.
"The problem with the whisky industry is that it is totally parochial in a global market."
Everyone was nervous of how Bob Dalgarno, the whisky maker of The Macallan and I would get along. We were after all, from two different worlds. After The Macallan had approached me for a collaboration, I had to think about it carefully. The problem with the whisky industry is that it is totally parochial in a global market. Words like "peaty" are used to describe the taste of the drink when some people around the world, like Singapore or even the Arizona desert, have never come across peat. In our very first meeting together, Bob pulled out 16 to 20 different whiskies for me to nose and to taste. And when I started smelling them, I was surprised to discover lemons and roses inside the whiskies. I think Bob had never met somebody who could pick out the different aromas inside his work by just smelling them.
"The Macallan opened me up to a breadth of flavours I never thought could be found in whisky. I then realised it was very similar to my world, where I deal with odours and smells on a daily basis."
THE COMMON GROUND
I think it is important to understand that you taste nothing else with your mouth except the elements of salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and unami. Everything else is transpired from the olfactory nerve at the back of your nose — which is why food becomes flavourless when we have a bad cold. The Macallan opened me up to a breadth of flavours I never thought could be found in whisky. I then realised it was very similar to my world, where I deal with odours and smells on a daily basis.
"What's been so great with the brand is that they are very forward thinking, where people would assume the whisky world is very conservative."
THE MAKING OF
I started off with simply picking out a set of different odours found in their American Fine Oak and Cherry Oak whisky, and placed the individual blotters into a glass. I got people to nose the glass, before removing it and pouring the actual whisky inside for them to taste. They were then able to pick out all the different essentials smells found in the whisky. Almost like deconstructing the flavours — it was a revelation! Since it was going to be a collaboration with my name on the bottle, I decided that I wanted The Macallan Edition No.3 to open up bright and citrusy, followed by notes of vanilla and bitter orange to follow through. What's been so great with the brand is that they are very forward thinking, where people would assume the whisky world is very conservative. We sort of learnt how to orchestrate a smell-flavour creation, which is something I have never done before.
"This bottle is a product directed by someone who hated whisky, which makes the drink more accessible and relatable — it's soft on the palate, multi-faceted and perfectly balanced."
THE FINISH LINE
Bob managed to accomplish all that. When the whisky arrived, I loved it and it was perfect. This bottle is a product directed by someone who hated whisky, which makes the drink more accessible and relatable — it's soft on the palate, multi-faceted and perfectly balanced. People in America and London who have tasted it told us it is so typically The Macallan but yet it is unlike any other drink of The Macallan that anyone has ever drunk before.
The Macallan Edition No.3 is subject to availability at selected retailers.