I think it is an extraordinary testament to Bob’s craft and his knowledge. It blows my mind that Bob has 250 000 barrels of whisky in his charge. From the profile I gave him, Bob knew how to pick these odours and flavours from a quarter of a million barrels. He is, without question, a genius at what he does.
What were your thoughts about whisky aroma before the project? Before I met The Macallan I had a clichéd idea in my mind of what whisky was about. From a non-whisky drinker’s point of view, I thought of an older man drinking a heavy, dark, unpleasant liquid. I was wrong.
What are your thoughts after the project? Bob introduced me to a broad spectrum of flavours that I had no idea existed within the world of whisky. He gave me whiskies that smelt fresh and citrus-like — the antithesis of this stereotypical dark, heavy drink I had in my mind — and whiskies that smelt of flowers — rose in particular. I had no idea you could find a flower lurking in a bottle of whisky.
I can honestly say that — from hating whisky — I have found a whisky that I absolutely love (because The Macallan very kindly made one for me. There aren’t many people in the world who can say that).
What are your thoughts on wood and how it builds the aroma in fine whiskies such as the Macallan? The nose is reminiscent of a fine fragrance, leading with vanilla, fresh-cut oak, and delicate florals. Orange oil provides subtle grandeur, while ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg flit in and out. Vanilla imparts sweetness, leading citrus fruits forward, then allowing chocolate to show. Burnished oak delivers a soft ending. The palate is sweet citrus and vanilla, while ginger and cinnamon are balanced with a light, resinous oak finale. The finish is long, sweet, and fruity.
How would you describe the aroma notes of this whisky? When you first nose it and taste it, you get this enormously diffuse burst of citrus — specifically lemon. People have commented that it feels brighter and a lot more diffuse than other whiskies from The Macallan. Within seconds of being in your mouth, in the background, you start to taste this vanilla, toffee, and caramel. The caramel evokes the coming together of the butter and sugar — it has this beautiful butteriness to it. Suddenly there is this fantastic flavour of bitter orange, which is a counterpoint to the sweetness of the vanilla. It has a tiny touch of sweet spice and a hint of florals, before the apple takes control of your whole mouth.
How will the aroma affect the experience of drinking this whisky? So far we have launched Edition No 3 in New York, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong. The feedback from lovers of The Macallan is that it is very fresh, very bright, very soft — and that it tastes more complete and rounded than other whiskeys from the distillery Interestingly, one person said: “This whisky is 100% The Macallan, but 100% unlike any other The Macallan ever tasted”.