The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao combines two classic flavour profiles: sherry matured whisky and chocolate. Initially released at a relatively affordable price of 140 euro, the secondary market has taken a hold of the Rich Cacao and prices have followed suit. Here’s my review of Macallan’s latest limited edition.
But before we dive into tasting notes, let’s take closer look at the packaging of the Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao. It actually very much fits the chocolate theme, as it is made from discarded husks from cocoa pods, which sounds like a great idea. It is a fact that was highlighted by The Macallan in their press release, which mentioned they had been “fusing together innovative techniques with materials from the natural world at the end of their life.”
However, I can’t help but feel a bit conflicted about The Macallan thumping their chest as do-gooders. While every bit of effort put into more sustainable packaging should be applauded, the distillery had a very different message just a week before the launch of the Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao.
When they introduced The Macallan A Night On Earth In Scotland there was no talk about sustainability at all. On the contrary, instead the elaborate and unnecessary packaging was presented as a positive, rather than a detriment to our Earth’s climate. According to the distillery, A Night On Earth In Scotland “provides an exceptional unboxing experience.”
If The Macallan truly were a climate conscious company, providing their customers with an unboxing experience should be the last thing on their mind. The needlessly large packaging of The Macallan A Night On Earth In Scotland only expands the distillery’s carbon footprint. This suggests to me The Macallan is only environmentally responsible when it suits them. Not the kind of message I would want to send out into the world.
Anyway, now that I’ve pointed out that hypocrisy, let’s take a closer look at The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao. Like I mentioned above it combines chocolate and sherry matured whisky. Or more to the point: this single malt was inspired by the chocolate making process. Whisky Maker Polly Logan looked to world-renowned pastry chef Jordi Roca and master chocolatier Damian Allsop for guidance.
“Chocolate and whisky is a marriage made in heaven”, Allsop says. “It’s amazing, because we have to combine the flavours of the whisky and the flavours of the chocolate. It’s always fun to see that marriage, to see that pairing, to see the way things join in together.”
The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao matured in sherry seasoned casks, both made from European and American oak. There’s no mention of the age of the whisky and neither of how limited this edition actually is. I would expect The Macallan to have released tens of thousands of bottles, but there’s no way to know for sure.
The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao (44%, OB, 2021)
Nose: Opens up on hot chocolate, slivers of orange zest as well as a whiff of honey and muscovado sugar. There’s also some gingerbread, sandalwood and just the quietest whisper of coffee grounds and copper coins. Taste: Plenty of nutmeg and cloves, with a touches of raisins, cocoa powder and dates, but also plenty of charred oak. Finally some marzipan and cinnamon. Finish: Lingering wood spices with a touch of honey and cocoa butter, with finally some orchard fruits.
As I've found with other relatively young, official bottlings from this distillery, the palace of The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao is not very refined. The nose is well-balanced and on the finish things calm down, but there's an initial spiciness and oakiness that's not entirely my cup of tea. A decent single malt nevertheless.