Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms. For renowned Scotch whisky maker The Macallan, it has consistently raised the bar with new whisky expressions inspired by elements from far beyond the world of Scotch whiskies. Its latest expressions may well be among the most unique as they take inspiration from the world of coffee.
The Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica and The Macallan Harmony Collection Smooth Arabica are two new exceptional offerings from the Scotch whisky maker, further demonstrating the brand's ability to push the boundaries of flavour and single malt whiskies. Both the Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica currently available at retail stores, while The Macallan Harmony Collection Smooth Arabica is available exclusively at the airports - form the second edition of The Macallan Harmony Collection. This coveted annual limited release series from the brand commenced with the release of Rich Cacao and Fine Cacao in previous years.
The new expressions form the second edition of The Macallan Harmony Collection, an annual limited release series from the brand, which commenced with the release of Rich Cacao and Fine Cacao in previous years.
Chocolate served as the focus for the first Harmony Collection, with both expressions featuring whiskies with a distinctive chocolate flavour profile. Now, The Macallan has set its sights on celebrating the world of coffee as part of its latest Harmony Collection.
A truly collaborative spirit
In crafting the second The Macallan Harmony Collection, the brand intently focused on creating intensely flavourful whiskies to pair perfectly with coffee. The Ethiopian Arabica coffee bean served as the muse for this, in part because it is well-documented that Ethiopia is considered the birthplace of coffee.
To bring The Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica and The Macallan Harmony Collection Smooth Arabica to life, The Macallan whisky maker Steven Bremner immersed himself in the art of coffee by hosting a masterclass with world-renowned coffee experts at The Macallan Estate.
A collaboration of minds and expertise, this masterclass served as an exploration from field to cup, uncovering the unique process and distinct flavour profiles at each stage. The single malt whiskies in this year's release were made possible by the valuable insights and knowledge shared by established coffee masters such as Ethiopian coffee grower Kenean Asefa Dukamo, whose long-standing experience in the Arabica variety was honed through the family trade.
Offering her in-depth knowledge of roasting techniques was acclaimed Scottish coffee roaster Lisa Lawson. A pioneer in speciality coffee in Scotland, Lawson's understanding of roasting techniques served as a deep dive into the taste profiles of coffee beans. Award-winning American barista Andrea Allen, renowned for creating incredible coffee experiences, offered her take on how coffee is savoured by today's consumers.
Also lending his expertise to this union of ideas was UK-based coffee artist Dhan Tamang, who crafted a range of coffee art and shared his knowledge on the art of the perfect coffee serve and sensory perceptions. Last but not least, leading coffee historian Professor Jonathan Morris offered insights into the roots of coffee and how it grew into the global phenomenon it is today.
"Exploring the world of coffee with our masters in the industry, who shared their knowledge, creativity and love for their art, was both an education and an inspiration," says Bremner. "There are many parallels between the approach to creating incomparable whisky and coffee. Each requires unique skills and craftsmanship to achieve depth and complexity of taste, and both worlds aim to deliver an extraordinary consumption experience."
Inspired By Ethiopian Arabica
Drawing inspiration from the Arabica bean from Ethiopia, renowned as the birthplace of coffee, The Macallan whisky maker selected a harmonious combination of American and European oak casks to achieve the distinctive notes offered by the single malts.
Inspired by Intense Arabica, it is reminiscent of a sweet yet strong espresso and has a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) of 44%. Smooth Arabica, on the other hand, conveys the flavours of a gently spiced and soft Americano, which come through at an ABV of 40%. Both exceptional single malts can be paired with coffee to provide a new way to savour The Macallan.
According to Bremner, he sought to bring out intense notes in The Macallan's traditional sherry-seasoned European oak casks when creating the coffee-inspired second edition of The Harmony Collection. "The influence of sherry-seasoned American oak casks offers the rich and satisfying elements of coffee while adding sweeter and softer vanilla notes for a balanced and rounded experience," he adds.
Both variations of the second Harmony Collection have been paired with two variations of Ethiopian coffee, which accentuate the unique tasting notes within the whisky when enjoyed side by side.
In a fitting homage to their coffee inspiration, both The Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica and The Macallan Harmony Collection Smooth Arabica is presented in a beautifully crafted presentation box that incorporates repurposed coffee bean husks, a by-product in the coffee-making process.
By incorporating organic by-products and recycled materials in the distinctive packaging, The Macallan is further emphasising the importance of sustainability in whisky making. To see this vision through, The Macallan worked alongside paper expert Michele Posocco of Italian paper mill Favini to create innovative packaging for the new expressions. The rich red pantone colour on the Inspired by Intense Arabica pack reflects the coffee fruit, while the vibrant green on the Smooth Arabica pack represents the unroasted coffee bean.
Through shared expertise and collaboration of minds, together with a longstanding history of crafting some of the world's most delectable whiskies, The Macallan has once more showcased its ability to fuse its inherent curiosity with its principles of innovation and creativity.
The result of this is The Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica and The Macallan Harmony Collection Smooth Arabica - two new and exciting expressions that offer a new dimension in showcasing the unexplored sensorial experience of The Macallan.
Experience The Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica first hand at ‘It's Coffee Time at The Macallan in Kuala Lumpur’ at The Bookmark, APW Bangsar from 17-19 February.
Open from 10am to 7pm, guests are required to book their session online starting 6 February for access to the experiential event. Admission to the event is complimentary and will include 1 dram of Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica, popcorn and a cup of coffee.
For more information visit here.