On a blustery autumn day where the leaves were joined in their falling by the rain, your trusty ScotchBloggers headed to 1 Hazelton, the posh new restaurant in the toniest part of town, to participate in The Macallan Tasting event (hosted by Matchstick). Coming along for the night were friends of ScotchBlog, some old veterans drinking the venerated liquid and some new to the joy of single malts.
Greeting us on our entry into the tasting event were Cameron & Sumaya from Matchstick and a glass of The Macallan 10. We had the option of enjoying our first taste on ice or neat; your dependable bloggers went for the latter and were provided a nice warm-up to the evening.
The tasting room itself was set-up to accommodate up to 50 participants across four long rows. While this enhanced the formality for the night and allowed for a structured nosing, it limited the ability of diverse groups to mingle and discuss tasting notes across the magnificent line until after the group tasting had finished and we were afforded some one-on-one time with the presenter.
1 Hazelton was tasked with providing hors d'oeurves to the masses waiting and mingling in the entry alcove. Platings included mini falafel pitas, mini chicken korma pitas, deep fried chantrelles w/ black truffle, teryaki steak skewers, lobster perogies and steamed mushroom dumplings. The food offerings were scrumptious, yet left oil and grease on the palate that masked the finer points of the whiskies; a more complementary selection would have been preferred to allow the full flavours to come out.
Leading us through our journey was Marc Laverdiere, Scotch Whisky Ambassador for The Macallan. Marc proved to be an excellent presenter to the uninitiated single malt drinker, but to those with a refined palate, there were no new discoveries to be made. It wasn't until after the event when discussing the finer points of the vintages one-on-one with Marc that his knowledge shone through.
On the table, each setting was provided with a dram of The Macallan 12, 15, 18 & 21. Mildly
disappointing to the tasters was the lack of a 25 to truly appreciate the art of the drink. Marc
lead the room through tasting each vintage in sequence, focussing at a very high level on how to nose & taste the Scotch, although as previously mentioned, the set-up of the room limited the attendees ability to compare notes and truly enjoy the intricate differences between vintages.
The highlight of the night was The Macallan Ice Ball Press, which may seem like an affront to the sensibilities of a whisky lover, but provides one solution to the age-old question: to ice or
not to ice. The spherical nature of the ice ball slows the ice from melting and clouding the purity of the single malt in the glass. Quite a genius invention to this humble writer, as it uses no electricity, just copper & physics to melt a square ice cube into a sphere to be added to one's tumbler. For those who wish to have no excess water in their drink, Marc showed us the rock cubes to be chilled in your freezer thereby allowing cooling without dilution. Those who balked at the £12 price tag were reminded that ordinary smooth round stones would do the trick just as well!
Each taster was provided a leather-bound, velvet-lined box shoe box with a sample of The Macallan Fine Oak 10, The Macallan 12, a tumbler & a pen to continue to enjoy The Macallan at home.
A few interesting items we learned about The Macallan and their unique distilling process were provided to the room. The Macallan has its own stand of European Oak in Northern Spain, where the wood is used to produce sherry for four years by Gonzales Byass. For variety, The Macallan also purchases bourbon casks from Makers Mark for aging their Fine Oak line.
All-in-all, the tastings were targeted more toward new appreciators of single malt Scotches, a valued experience which afforded the Scotch Blog authors an opportunity to taste across The Macallan's offerings. We would like to thank Matchstick for inviting us to the event and to Marc for leading us through the night.