If there was ever a tried food pairing, it is sherried whisky and chocolate. It seems The Macallan embraces this flavour combination in their latest release, Rich Cacao (read my review here). Part of their new Harmony Collection, this series also explores sustainable packaging.
It’s hard to keep track of how many limited annual series The Macallan now has, but The Harmony Collection is another one. Imagine being a collector of Macallan single malt. Ooof Madone! Exactly how it focuses on sustainability doesn’t initially become very clear in the press release, which mentions “fusing together innovative techniques with materials from the natural world at the end of their life.”
That’s marketing speak for you. But working towards using sustainable packaging is undeniably a good thing, so I’ll refrain from being too cynical. And later on they do explain the box is made from discarded husks from cocoa pods, which actually sounds pretty cool.
The Macallan Rich Cacao is made by one of the distillery’s (many?) Whisky Makers. Polly Logan flew down to Girona, Spain, to completely immerse herself in the world of chocolate. That alone conjures images of someone being dunked into a bucket of liquid chocolate. But I doubt that’s what happened. Instead, Logan describes her experience as follows:
“I uncovered a great synergy between the whisky-making process and that of chocolate. Both take time and exceptional attention to detail, with even the slightest changes to the process encouraging different aromas and flavors to emerge.”
She worked with world-renowned pastry chef Jordi Roca of restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. In 2014 he was awarded the title World’s Best Pastry Chef. You might also know him from an episode of the Netflix series Chef’s Table Pastry.
“Our collaboration with The Macallan allows us to challenge our own creativity”, Jordi explained. “And in this project, we have been allowed to play with cacao, which is one of my passions. Being able to inspire a whisky and to create a unique tasting experience has been wonderful.”
Logan also spent time with master chocolatier Damian Allsop. After her visit to Spain, Polly searched sherry seasoned casks of Macallan for chocolate notes. She used both European and American oak casks. According to the distillery, The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao has a “deep, dark chocolate profile, which pairs perfectly with the richest chocolate for a luxurious sensorial experience.”
Just like the recently released The Macallan A Night On Earth In Scotland, it is hard to discern how this latest expression differs all that much from other Macallan releases. It matured in the same cask types as many of the distillery’s other single malts. And again there’s no age statement to go by.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, but I doubt there will be much eating done. Another limited edition without an actual statement about how bottles will be released, many of them will likely be flipped or stashed in cellars. That’s a shame because in theory this could be a pretty delicious single malt. If anyone gets their hand one a bottle and opens it, I’d be happy to buy a sample of you. Just get in touch!
Official Tasting Notes by Polly Logan
Aroma: Chocolate fondant, honey, oak, zesty lime and ginger
Palate: Dark chocolate, honey, dates, vanilla and cinnamon
Finish: Long with rich chocolate
The Macallan Harmony Collection Rich Cacao will be available globally starting in October 2021. The exact price will vary, but I’ve seen mentions of $160 USD.