(SPOT.ph) Say "whisky" and what likely comes to mind are late nights sipping Old Fashioned at the bar while soft jazz plays in the background. But beyond its suave image is also a world that points to the perplexing manner in which mere grains—be it barley, corn, or rye—are fermented, distilled, and allowed to mature in their special casks, to become a spirit with rich and intense flavors. Typically featuring oaky, fruity, or vanilla-y notes, whisky also goes especially well with chocolate, for which reason you can find desserts and confections that feature the said pairing. One recently launched whisky plays up their compatibility with its deep, cacao character right in the drink itself. Meet the Rich Cacao from Scottish brand The Macallan, which we got to try at the recently held Night of Decadence and Harmony event at Gallery by Chele.
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This new whisky from Macallan has our chocolate-crazed senses tingling:
First, Here's How it Came About.
Fast facts first, Spotters: The Rich Cacao is the first edition of The Macallan's limited-edition Harmony Collection—a special collection of their Highland single malt Scotch whiskies that comes in sustainable packaging. The backstory's totally fascinating, too; looking to explore the world of chocolate, The Macallan's own whisky maker Polly Logan traveled to Girona, Spain and learned everything from how the confection is made to its distinctive flavor profiles. Logan went on to team up with famed pastry chef Jordi Roca of Spanish establishment El Celler de Can Roca (who was hailed World's Best Pastry Chef by Restaurant Magazine in 2014), visiting Roca's Casa Cacao chocolate factory and even spending time with acclaimed chocolatier Damian Allsop. Seeing their passion and knowledge on the subject, Logan became inspired to seek the most suitable, sherry-seasoned oak casks maturing at The Macallan estate in order to find those with distinctive chocolate notes—and thus, the Rich Cacao was born.
For this limited spirit, The Macallan employs a combination of European and American oak casks, and the result is a truly rich sip with a distinct cacao note—think of your favorite tablea or dark craft chocolate bar and how it's got that subtly fruity hum going on, paired with that distinctly chocolate-y depth of flavor, and you'll know what we mean.
Though it's been almost a week since the Night of Decadence and Harmony event where the Rich Cacao was launched—and, for the record, we're no connoisseurs—its remarkable flavor remains engraved in our minds to this day.
What Does The Macallan's Harmony Collection Rich Cacao Whisky Taste Like?
This whisky bears a toasty, tawny hue that's not unlike the color of roasted cacao beans, and a sniff delivers sweet but powerful aromas of chocolate, honey, and oak—made zesty with citrus and ginger. We had the opportunity to take it neat; and in line with its aroma, as you take a sip you're welcomed in by a honey-like floral note and warm ol' cinnamon, with a tinge of vanilla to round things out. As you swirl it on your tongue, though, things go deep, dark, and robust—and you're taken out for quite the chocolatey flavor trip. It's a complex but ultimately fun ride. The voyage is made even more thrilling as it concludes with a spiciness that tingles on the tongue, but somehow it serves to draw us back in, sip after sip after sip.
It's spectacular on its own, but the best way to take it is—you guessed it—to take it with chocolate. We got to do just that with not just any chocolate, but Auro Chocolate—the proudly Filipino bean-to-bar brand known for crafting up real topnotch bars and confections using local cacao, while giving back to Filipino farmers and working toward organic conversion in its partners’ cacao farms. Auro crafted up a special chocolate bonbon with a shell of 64% dark chocolate, and an interior of 32% white chocolate ganache brightened with lime—and its fusion of robust, creamy, and zesty profiles made for a stellar pair to the whisky that brought out its distinguishing characteristics.
Other Stellar Eats and Sips From the Night of Decadence and Harmony Event
Known for their way of highlighting rare and otherwise-forgotten local ingredients (and hailed among Asia’s Best Restaurants in 2021), Gallery by Chele worked their magic and served a slew of spectacular sweet and savory dishes and libations, many infused with whisky and/or chocolate. A vibrant Cacao Ceviche with snapper and corn on a bed of roasted cacao husks served as a spunky opening to the meal, paired with a sprightly Whiskey Sour featuring pomelo, rosemary syrup, and The Macallan's Double Cask 12 Years Old whisky. A succulent Oyster course using oysters from Palawan opened our minds to the adaptability of coffee—here, infused into a special coffee polvoron that's shaved onto your plate upon serving—in savory applications.
A well-rounded Old Fashioned follows; this take on the classic libation immediately stands out for its use of The Macallan's Double Cask 12 Years Old whisky and Auro cacao bitters. With that comes Gallery by Chele's Iberico & Mushroom Rice, a risotto-esque dish with a perfectly seared Iberico pork strip; and the Grilled Tenderloin that brings to mind Morrocan beef stew (or even pares!) with its combo of tenderloin in a savory-sweet demi-glace sauce of honey and cinnamon.
Decadent meal-enders came via the Single Origin dessert, a layered affair of that delivered the flavor of chocolate—plus vanilla, dates, and honey—in a multi-textural medium that was part-crisp, part-billowy, and part-creamy. Of course, no meal at Gallery by Chele is complete without the Signature Bibingka Cheesecake, their famed dessert with the savory-smoky-sweet character of the Filipino rice cake, transformed into a lush cheesecake with a borderline-molten center.
Where to Order The Macallan's Harmony Collection Rich Cacao Whisky
Intrigued? The Macallan's Harmony Collection Rich Cacao Whisky goes for an SRP of P13,500 and is available through liquor shops like Future Trade International Inc., Forth and Tay, Grand Cru Wines and Spirits, Solid Wines, Prestige Wines, and more. Should you be looking to get it delivered, you can get your fix through online stores like Thirst and Boozy.ph; note that prices may vary. It makes a great luxe gift for the chocolate enthusiast in your life who's seen and tried it all; but of course, you can also go ahead and pick up a bottle for yourself.
For more information, check out The Macallan's Facebook page.
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this strange new world.