Drama in a wee dram

Autumn chills call for a warming dram, whether neat, on the rocks or with a splash of water to bring out the flavor.

The newly launched Macallan Edition No 6 (HK$1,103) is a limited edition single malt celebrating The Macallan Estate’s distillery philosophy and sustaining lifeforce – the River Spey, renowned for Atlantic salmon and Speyside whisky.

“From its early days of whisky making almost 200 years ago, The Macallan has been strongly inspired by and intrinsically connected to nature, and our whisky is enriched by its powerful presence,” said Steven Bremner, The Macallan whisky maker. “Edition No 6 is inspired by the natural world surrounding our distillery, which has so much to offer and enjoy, in particular the River Spey, which is so vibrant and full of energy.”

Crafted from a combination of American and European oak sherry- seasoned casks, the multifaceted whisky contains the aromas of fresh fruit, nutmeg and toffee merged with oak and the flavors of ripe plum, sweet oranges and cinnamon, which develop into notes of spicy fresh fruit, creamy chocolate and toasted oats at the end.

Marking the final release in the Macallan Edition Series, No 6 provides a perfect conclusion to the series, Bremner said.

As one chapter ends, another begins. Orkney-based distillery Highland Park has introduced a new cask-strength edition to its award-winning single malt range.

Cask strength is a term used to describe a whisky that has not had water added during bottling and after maturation in casks. Most whiskies are diluted with water before bottling to reduce the alcohol strength. Highland Park Cask Strength Release No 1 (HK$625) has been created by bringing together dozens of single casks. The whisky is at full strength, straight from the cask and has been gently filtered before bottling, resulting in an intense flavor with a greater depth of finish.

The company says it delivers aromas of heather honey and freshly grated nutmeg, with flavors of molten toffee-log fire and sun-ripened acitrus and lingering peat smoke at the finish. The amber gold liquor bursts into a floral fragrance when pairing with dark chocolate.

“The cask-strength whisky is very much made the traditional way, but it doesn’t have to be enjoyed so,” said Gordon Motion, Highland Park master whisky maker. “Its full flavor allows people the control to discover the taste and strength that appeals to the palate by adding ice or water according to preference.”

For something a little softer, Australian restaurant Hue in Tsim Sha Tsui offers a selection of rare whiskies selected by independent blender The Lost Distillery Company.

It’s not just about the taste – it’s also about history, as the Lost Distillery Company is concerned with researching and recreating whiskies in the style of lost distilleries, many of which last operated during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Using whiskies from various distilleries, each creation generates a flavor profile considered similar to the style once produced.

The Whisky in the Lounge package (HK$1,200) allows guests to choose any three from the Lost Distillery Menu and one matched dessert suggested by the executive chef, Anthony Hammel. The featured Stratheden Classic represents Strathden Distillery, established in 1829. Crafted in oak casks and containing the aromas of caramel and smoke, the whisky is matched with a pistachio cake with matcha cream and frozen orange curd.

Another is the Towiemore Archivist, representing Towiemore Distillery, which won a fine reputation in its 30 years of life from 1897 to 1927. Delivering aromas of crystalized ginger, salt and pepper, the whisky’s taste is brought out by the chocolate delice with salted miso caramel.

Also created with a light hand is Glenmorangie’s A Tale of Cake (price not available). Inspired by baking and happy memories, the fruity single malt can be drunk neat or paired with real cake, as originally intended.

Said Glenmorangie’s director of whisky creation Bill Lumsden: “Like so many of us, some of my favorite memories come from cake, whether it be helping my granny in her kitchen, or the pineapple birthday cake my daughter surprised me with one year.

“By finishing whisky in Tokaji wine casks, I’ve captured the joy of those indulgent cake moments. The liquid is a rich copper, but the taste is pure technicolor, luscious, sweet and complex with multi-layered bursts of honey, white chocolate and fruits with a hint of mint.”

(This article was published at The Standard on November 13, 2020: Weekend Glitz: Drama in a wee dram )

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