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26 Jul 2015 By

You can check out the Macallan Rare Cask Experience over the next two weekends at The White House (not that one), and get acquainted with the limited edition Rare Cask, a bracing whisky we experienced and are now extolling.

Am I a big fan of Macallan? I’m not not a fan, if I can perch on the fence here. It’s always been one of those solid, can’t-go-wrong orders that doesn’t dazzle, but doesn’t disappoint either. You’ll sip it, appreciate its balance and ballast, and continue with the next repartee and witticism, without raising much of an eyebrow. Macallan is like the wing man of whiskies. There, I said it.

Still, it didn’t mean I wasn’t excited when I got the invitation to the Macallan Rare Cask Experience – because every new whisky is a new adventure. This would be an interactive exhibition, a multi-sensorial showcase of the craft that goes into making the latest expression. 

Macallan Rare Cask

The Macallan Rare Cask Experience is on til Aug 2.  Photo© @davidwiseguy

Before the big Rare Cask reveal, we had cocktails and some Macallan 12 and 15 years while strolling around to get a sense of the production. By now you’re already familiar with the 6 pillars of The Macallan, and the brand’s commitment to sourcing and using the finest sherry seasoned oak casks.

The exhibition, from the photos to the scents to the liquid, makes clear that everything about this premium whisky starts with the wood. “Wood sits at the very heart of what we do at The Macallan, and Rare Cask further demonstrates the vital role of our casks in the production of our superb whiskies,” says Stuart MacPherson, The Macallan’s Master of Wood. (Yes, it’s a thing).

A useful bit of trivia: When the oak casks are being toasted – it’s not by burning peat, obviously, leave that to the crazy Islay distilleries – the flames are set by oak chips. To keep the whole process oaky, you see. 

Macallan Rare Cask

Acornfiguration. From acorn to bottle, about a hundred years?  Photo© @davidwiseguy

You can watch The Macallan Rare Cask videos here.

Macallan Rare Cask

The man cave you’ve always wanted.  Photo© @davidwiseguy

And so to the Rare Cask. The liquid is chosen from 16 different styles of sherry-seasoned oak casks hand-crafted at the most trusted selection of cooperages in Spain and a handful of partner bodegas. The eventual Rare Cask is the finest cut – with less than 1% of those casks maturing at the distillery deemed fitting for the Rare Cask label by the Master Whisky Maker.

The result? A beautiful natural colour that for some reason reminded me of S.E. Hinton’s quote from The Outsiders: “Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold.” There’s no spirit caramel here, just an intense sunset glow inside an artfully sculpted bottle.

Age too, is not the important element here, the focus for their whisky maker Bob Dalgarno was taste, not years. And on that note he has delivered. Nosing it, you get milk chocolate, woody spices, citrusy zest.   

The taste? Complex, soft with more of the chocolate flavours, and a finish that’s handsomely smoky. It’s definitely one to savour. We had seconds (you know, just to be sure…).

Macallan Rare Cask

Sherry not-so-rare cask, self explanatory.  Photo© @davidwiseguy

So all in all, a winner. Definitely one I’d return to. And if this was a wing man, it wouldn’t last a day. After all, nothing gold can stay.

There are two more weekends left if you want the interactive Macallan Rare Cask Experience (till Aug 2). Register at www.themacallanrarecask.com.sg 

Visitors will have the opportunity to taste the Macallan Rare Cask, Tio Pepe sherry, as well as a complimentary whisky cocktail – additional beverages will be available for purchase.

Like this? How about checking out whisky workshops – if you’re in Hong Kong?

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