A Whisky To Fall In Love With
Wednesday - January 23, 2008
Del.icio.us | Podcast | WineAndDineHawaii.com
Eden Algie might have the best job in the world. Yes, even better than mine. He’s the brand ambassador for one of the world’s best whiskies. That means he spends most of his working life traveling the globe talking about - and drinking - The Macallan.
Food and Wine magazine recently voted The Macallan the “best whisky in the world,” and while we all know that awards for spirits are highly subjective, there’s no doubting the incredible popularity of this gorgeous spirit.
For me, part of the magic of The Macallan comes from its history. On 300 acres in the heart of Speyside, surrounded by rolling hills within casting distance of salmon that live in the fastest running river in Scotland, The Macallan represents all that is great about Scottish whisky production.
“Speyside is a very forgiving environment for whisky-making,” says Algie. “It’s not harsh like the highlands or the islands.”
And there’s a history to The Macallan that dates back to the 1700s. “There’s been whisky-making on this land since 1824, when The Macallan was first licensed to produce whisky,” says Algie. “But to say that we weren’t making whisky before that might be a bit of a white lie,” he adds with a grin. Easter Elkies house, the baronial home that sits front and center of the distillery, was built in 1700.
And while The Macallan 18-year-old and 25-year-old are resplendent with dried fruit, chocolate and sherry characteristics, age is not the only indicator of a great whisky.
“Our two best-known products are the 18 and the 25, but the most amazing thing at The Macallan is the variety of taste profiles,” says Algie, referring to some of the newer whiskies to hit the market.
In 2004 the company launched its Fine Oak range, producing whisky with a lighter body and a more citrus influence - perfect for hot, balmy nights in Hawaii. “It’s not about drinking your father’s whisky anymore,” says Algie. “The spirit and the wood quality with the Fine Oak malts are the same; it’s the age that offers a different taste profile.”
I’ve been to The Macallan many times. I love the drive there from Edinburgh, and I marvel at the neatness of the manicured lawns, the ancient baronial home and the centuries-old brick walls that house the whisky barrels. I love to peer through cobwebbed windows at the distillers outside in their coveralls, taking a break and chatting about football, unaware of the deep passion their whisky invokes worldwide.
And I’ve always believed if you were to fall in love with a whisky, then The Macallan, with its strong backbone and a sweet, lingering aftertaste, would be it. It’s elegant, rich in history and a part of Scottish national history (The Macallan pot stills are featured on Scotland’s 5 pound note ($10 bill).
The man with the best job in the world agrees. “What you get from The Macallan is iconic luxury steeped in historic values,” says Algie. “You can taste it in every sip.”
To hear Jo’s interview with Eden Algie during his recent trip to Hawaii, go to wineanddinehawaii.com/podcasts
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