The Macallan is out with a new whisky series, and the backstory is a real doozy, so pay attention for a minute. The new Harmony Collection launched this fall to highlight the brand’s devotion to sustainable packaging. Per the press release:
Sustainability has been a constant guiding principle for The Macallan since it began crafting its single malt whisky in perfect harmony with the beautiful nature that surrounds The Macallan Estate in Scotland’s Speyside in 1824. Inspired by The Macallan’s deep-rooted connection to nature for nearly 200 years, The Harmony Collection is an exploration into the world of sustainable packaging. Fusing together innovative techniques with materials from the natural world at the end of their life to see them reborn with a renewed purpose.
Alright. Got that part? Now for what’s actually inside the bottle. For the inaugural release, The Macallan Whisky Maker Polly Logan dove deep into a surprising flavor profile: chocolate. Yep, chocolate. But lest you think The Macallan is heading in the direction of Crown Peach, here’s a bit more from the press release:
Polly collaborated with world-renowned pastry chef, Jordi Roca, the youngest of the acclaimed Roca brothers of El Celler de Can Roca, with whom The Macallan has a long-standing relationship. As part of the exploration, she visited Jordi’s famed chocolate factory, Casa Cacao in Girona and she also spent time with master chocolatier, Damian Allsop.
Through this unique experience, Polly drew inspiration from the duo’s passion, knowledge and creativity to create The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao, searching the sherry seasoned oak casks maturing at The Macallan Estate to identify rare, indulgent chocolate notes. “The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao is a wonderful expression which brings together the world of whisky with the fascinating world of chocolate” said Polly Logan, Whisky Maker for The Macallan.
As if that all didn’t seem gimmicky enough, the sustainable packaging for this one is made from natural by-products of the chocolate-making process, including husks from cacao pods. Husks! I suppose it’s a noble enough endeavor, but it sounds too clever by half. (And it still comes in a glass bottle, after all.) Let’s just set all that aside for a moment. How does this new Macallan actually taste?
Decidedly un-gimmicky. Downright delicious, actually. The aroma shows that classic, sherried Macallan core with new leather, dried citrus, honey, and almond paste, but atop all that sits a unique wood-driven layer that does indeed evoke chocolate, err cacao, although not in an incredibly obvious way. It’s more subtle than the name implies with well-balanced notes of cocoa nibs, dry baking chocolate, and a bit of milky coffee. The palate is where the confections really show off with deeper, darker notes of chocolate that become almost fudgy into the finish. There’s a creaminess here, as well, which works beautifully to complement notes of dark vanilla bean, juicy dates, and baking spice. It’s reminiscent of a holiday fruit cake, if that fruit cake had chunks of chocolate in it — which may sound a bit strange but not in this dram. Elaborate backstory aside, this is one to put on the shelf.