My partner in crime and I headed over to Aziamendi 88 in the Mandarin Oriental KL on 12 October 2015 for the The Macallan Masters Series Dinner – The Macallan Rare Cask launch, introducing its 1824 Masters Series range through a luxurious dining experience. Now I have been wanting to try the menu at Aziamendi88 which is Malaysia’s first 3-Michelin star chef pop-up restaurant in Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, so I was very excited about this exclusive event which was only for selected media, trade partners and hoteliers.
The Macallan was founded in 1824 in the heart of Speyside, and was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed, and today is one of the world’s leading single malt whiskies. The Macallan draws on influences of Spain, North America and Scotland, and of their respective natural raw materials, combined with traditional Scottish methods and craftsmanship.
The event began with a cocktail session featuring The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years Old, paired with Aziamendi’s first course which was the Picnic basket.
We were then ushered into the beautifully prepared dining room and waiting for us was the Aziamendi signature, The Bonsai Tree, which had slow cooking cherry tomatoes and edible pieces of “tree bark”.
Edwin Yeo, Chief Representative of Edrington Malaysia, gave an opening address which was followed by a brief introduction of the whiskies by Alvin Tan, Regional Marketing Manager of Edrington Singapore, after which the 6-course whisky pairing dining experience, specially crafted by Executive Chef Eneko’s team, both Chef de Cuisine Alex Burger and Aisha Ibrahim was served.
Three (3) of Macallan’s whisky expressions were paired in sequence through the course of the dining experience; The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old, The Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years Old & The Macallan Rare Cask. Each expression brings about its own unique character and taste profile, complementing the exquisite food that was served.
The Truffled Egg was paired with The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years which imparted its rich dried fruits and sherry balanced with wood smoke and spice flavours to complement the luxurious truffled egg which burst delightfully in the mouth delivering a mouthful of egg yolk and warm truffle juice. A wonderful start to the meal indeed!
This dish was also paired with the Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years and this time round the whisky provided a deep contrast to the fresh and delicate flavours of the tuna.
The Foie Gras Ashes was unlike any foie gras dish I’ve ever eaten before. The foie gras was finely grated atop small pieces of toasted brioche. The creamy and savoury flavours left me wanting more! This dish was paired with the Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years which has flavours of intense rich chocolate with a hint of orange and raisin. Paired perfectly with their foie gras and balanced out the rich taste.
A succulent and juicy grilled lobster tail paired with the Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years.
Not everyone knew how to eat this but I love duck and this was done perfectly. Not a hint of that ducky smell. This was paired with the Macallan Rare Cask which imparted its spicy, raisin, oaky, chocolate, vanilla and light citrus zest flavours to complement the earthiness of the duck. The Macallan Rare Cask was really a complex whisky with loads of different flavours, definitely not for beginners but for real whisky aficionados who know how to appreciate good quality whiskies.
This was so decadent! The salted caramel ice cream was the best I’ve had and the chocolate was so rich! The Macallan Rare Cask went superbly well with this dessert!
After dinner, we took the opportunity to check out the various premium whiskies in the display cases including the 1824 Masters Series range, featuring four exquisite decanters; Rare Cask, Reflexion, No. 6 & M, whilst enjoying even more Macallan.
Below are the official descriptions of the Macallan Rare Cask and Reflexion.
The Macallan Rare Cask
The Macallan Rare Cask (43% abv, and retailing at RM1,600*), created from The Macallan’s obsession with wood, is amongst the most precious and scarce in the world of single malt whisky.
Specially crafted by Master Whisky Maker from a small proportion of maturing casks at The Macallan distillery, Rare Cask captures a true decadence, with an absolute rarity underscored by the fact that some of the casks selected in the creation of this whisky will never be used again, with less than 1% of the casks maturing at The Macallan distillery identified by the Master Whisky Maker as fitting to bestow the Rare Cask name. It is a single malt of great diversity and intricacy, a reinterpretation of the classic profile achieved through the widest palette of cask styles. Wood defines the flavour of The Macallan, with over 60% of the character coming from the cask it is aged in.
The Macallan Rare Cask draws from the broadest spectrum of cask profiles, with a total of 16 different cask styles. The range of casks cover different wood species – handmade Spanish and American oak casks which are the best in the business, from different cask manufacturers including Tevasa, Vasyma and Hudosa, and established bodegas such as Gonzalez Byass and Williams & Humbert, and incorporating different cask sizes including puncheons, butts and hogsheads. These factors come together to redefine diversity in the single malt.
The Macallan Rare Cask showcases two of The Macallan’s greatest strengths and prides: exceptional sherry seasoned oak casks and beautiful natural colour. Drawing inspiration from The Macallan’s iconic triangle with the intention to showcase the whisky’s rich natural colour in a resplendent mahogany hue, Rare Cask comes in a stunningly sculpted, heavy glass decanter, reflecting the peerless spirit that defines The Macallan.
Opulent, yet soft and slightly meandering, picture an orchestra setting up: quiet vanilla with deep notes, already in tune; raisin bold and booming, though only in spells; chocolate a star performer, but not a standout; a sweet ensemble of apple, lemon and orange, beautifully balanced with a spicy quartet of root ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Then oak conducts, mature and elegant, with patience only time delivers.
The spicy quartet leads, loud and full, unwavering in their performance. Raisin dares to temper – and succeeds!! – but oak takes control; timeless, polished, rich and resonating. Vanilla and chocolate compliment each other in the background.
The Macallan Reflexion
The Macallan Reflexion (43% abv, and retailing at RM5,800*) is a reflection of the foremost influence of first fill sherry seasoned oak casks, drawing its colour and flavour from maturation in hogshead casks. These are smaller casks, which allow for greater surface area of wood to interact with the spirit to deliver an intricate character driven by the influence of both Spanish and American oak casks.
Sculpted through the inspiration of The Macallan’s iconic triangular shape, Reflexion is a masterpiece both in style and stature. Its exquisite angular facets each reflect the light to showcase the deep red mahogany hue of the whisky within.
The depth of the colour and the complexity of flavour of Reflexion, derive from the casks selected for this distinctive expression by the Master Whisky Maker. Bold and full-bodied, Reflexion is a celebration of floral and vanilla notes, punctuated with fresh apples and apricots.
Colour: Blood Orange
Orange and citrus fruits open up like fresh fruit on a sunny market day, their zest is fresh, the fruit is firm. A slight waxy note fades to fresh green apples. Then the sweet stall: chocolate, thick fudge, boiled sweets, aniseed; caramel toffees almost overwhelm whilst white chocolate truffles are hidden. Just as you are ready to taste, a delivery of bananas in fresh, sweet oak arrives.
Initial light citrus zest with new oak quickly gives way to a juicier sweetness, thick and succulent, of lemon and orange. Raisin, sultana and apple, with a hint of cinnamon and ginger, are subtle. Boiled sweets add balance to a glimpse of toasted oak to give a medium and soft finish.
The Macallan whiskies are best enjoyed either straight (knit), with a splash of water to release the flavours, or with an ice ball.
The Macallan 1824 Masters Series is now available in Malaysia at selected purveyors of fine spirits.
More info at http://www.themacallan.com/
Photo credits: Edrington Malaysia and author’s own