An Evening with Nick Savage, Master Distiller of The Macallan
Beatrice and I recently headed over to Solaris Dutamas for a private cocktail with Nick Savage, Master Distiller of The Macallan. Nick was born in Sheffield, UK, and studied Sports Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University, before moving to Australia in 2002 to further his studies and eventually graduating from RM1T University. Melbourne in 2006. with a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.
Nick then moved to Scotland in 2007, looking to start his career within the whisky industry. He initially worked as part of a partnership between Edinburgh Napier University and Diageo. leading the three year research programme on maturation losses, cask maturation quality and innovation design. The success of Nick’s team heavily supported Diageo’s major brands and was pivotal to the University being awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. Nick then spent four years at Diageo, as Cask Science and Warehouse Research Manager, before moving to William Grant & Sons in 2014, serving as Technical Area Leader for Distilling in Girvan, South Ayrshire.
In his role as Master Distiller for The Macallan, Nick is responsible for the overall quality of The Macallan spirit, ensuring long term sustainable products. Working closely with the brand’s operations in Spain, Nick is focused on creating the perfect new make spirit from the oak casks, whilst insuring both spirit and cask are within specification. Additionally, Nick’s role incorporates leading liquid innovation optimisation of current practices, whilst consistently looking to deliver new products to the consumer.
At the cocktail which was in a hidden bar, we members of the media got an intimate session with one of the key men responsible for the lovely whiskies that Macallan produces. While others asked lots of technical questions regarding the brand and the whisky of which some were intriguing and some less so, the one question which I asked was this – why is the price of a bottle of Macallan more premium than (most) other single malt whiskies?
Nick explained that the process of creating Macallan whiskies was like creating a supercar, using only premium raw ingredients, combined with intricate skills and techniques, even sourcing quality sherry and oak casks to age the whiskies in, all to create the “Ferrari of Whiskies”. So the next time you enjoy a bottle of Macallan, remember that what you’re savouring is the culmination of superior quality and tremendous skills and experience.
The Macallan Rare Cask is a 43% ABV whisky, crafted to showcase complexity and depth, and is drawn from the broadest spectrum of casks, 16 different types, ever identified by the Master Whisky Maker.
Far less than 1% of those casks maturing at the distillery have been identified as fitting to bestow the Rare Cask name. With rarity at its core, this is a whisky crafted from casks so rare they will never again be used in any Macallan whisky. Combining Spanish and American sherry seasoned oak casks, a high proportion of them first fill, gives rise to an exquisite whisky with a splendidly rich hue, and an unmistakably woody whisky. Soft notes of opulent vanilla and raisin on the nose, give way to apple, lemon, and orange. Balanced by a spicy quartet of root ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Oak resonates, timeless, polished and rich. Vanilla and chocolate lead the finale along with a light citrus zest. The finish is full, warming and woody.
For more info, head over to https://www.themacallan.com/
Belgian King’s Day Celebration and “Young Malaysians Go Classic II” Performance
Pearl and I recently attended the Young Malaysians Go Classic II (YMGCII) performance during the Belgian King’s Day celebration in Malaysia on the 16 November 2017 at Connexion @ Nexus Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur. Apart from popular Belgian food, about 6 Crafted Belgian Beers, both on draft and bottles, from 4 small independent Belgian Family Breweries were served, along with Stella Artois and Hoegaarden.
The Malaysia Belgium Luxembourg Business Council (MBLBC) together with the local Belgium Embassy organised YMGCII as a CSR-initiative to provide musicians living in Malaysia an opportunity to display their musical talents in front of an international and appreciative audience of international business-people, government officials, musical colleagues and parents. Auditions for YMGCII were held over the course of two months and the best talents from different states in Malaysia were selected to form a full size choir and philharmonic orchestra.
“Our main goal was to provide artistic exposure to local communities and future leaders. We hope that the YMGC will be the spark of excellence in their early careers as musicians” said Daniel Pans, Vice President of MBLBC and also the inspiration behind the YMGC. “Looking around, I felt immense pride at the fact that everyone from different backgrounds were able to come together to enjoy brilliantly executed performances. There’s nothing like watching pure passion and hard-work paying off right before your eyes. It was truly inspirational”, he added.
The young musicians of YMGCII were exceptional and skilfully performed some of the most intricate set pieces such as the Les Miserables Collection, Rolling in the Deep and Guardians at the Gate just to name a few.
YMGCII was conducted by Sir Dirk Brossé, a multi-faceted composer and a respected conductor on the international music scene from Belgium, along with other accomplished talents that contributed their music skills such as renowned musical director, Mr. Kevin Field – the long-time Principal Conductor of MPYO, Musical coaches, Choir Leader – Mrs Susanna Saw and Composer – Mr Ken Hor.
This was the second time that the MBLBC has collaborated with the Belgian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for YMGC, after its extremely successful inaugural back in 2013. The evening was held in conjunction with the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Belgium – Malaysia Bilateral Relations, as well as to celebrate Belgium’s King’s Day in Kuala Lumpur. The talented youths of YMGC will also be the main attraction and entertainment for the EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI) organized EUROPA Awards, happening on the 24th of November 2017.
Platinum sponsor of the event, Bigbox Asia, is an e-commerce grocer powered by specialised food distribution company, DPO International. Other prominent sponsors include notable companies like (Gold sponsors) BNP Paribas, Oleon, Solvay and Swift, as well as (Silver sponsors) Berjaya, Lhoist, Halfen (CRH).
From the soundtrack of Thor. While the orchestra played some classic numbers like those from Les Miserables, a good number of pieces were of the more contemporary type – from Marvel Studio’s Thor to The Dark Knight, Spiderman, Pirates of the Carribean, Titanic, Disney’s Mulan, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and even Adele’s Rolling in the Deep. These pieces were more relevant to the generation of musicians
The love theme from Disney’s Beauty & The Beast.
For more information, head over to http://www.facebook.com/YoungMalaysiansGoClassic
Photo credits: Malaysia Belgium Luxembourg Business Council and author’s own