November 17, 2011

Designed for the palate...and the nose

Master perfumer Roja Dove, left, and The Macallan's David Cox at the Beverly Hills Montage

Recently, wine and spirits expert R. Dean attended a special Macallan whisky event at £10 bar at the Montage in Beverly Hills on behalf of Entra. Organized in New York and Los Angeles, the private meetings introduced select media and mixologists to a very special new tool in the appreciation of whisky.

Working with legendary perfumer Roja Dove, The Macallan, one of Scotland's most celebrated distilleries, has created an unprecedented scent box to allow its brand ambassadors to open the world of whisky to a broader audience. The specially designed kits feature twelve glass perfume vials of rare essences, like Rose de Mai, which requires hundreds of thousands of flowers to produce even a small amount of oil. The first set of of six initiates a discussion of scent properties—sweetness and spice, youth and maturity, stillness and volatility—that opens participants to the concept of learning to smell with the brain. The second set of oils are Dove's own blends that exactingly replicate the noses of several Macallan whiskies. It's a bit like breaking down wine tastings into flavors of oak, chocolate, and butter, for example, but it's done on a profoundly more sensory, and sensual, level.

“Roja Dove is a master perfumer who is dedicated to the highest quality raw materials in the creation of exceptional aromas and fragrances.  At The Macallan we are committed to the same quality of raw materials in delivering our whiskies,” explains David Cox, director of fine and rare malt whiskies for The Macallan. “Roja was the clearly the best choice for The Macallan. He brings a new and exciting dimension to our storied whiskies in a unique and innovative way.”

Experiencing the scents independently, then blended, enables one to more readily discern the complex notes of the whiskies, and go beyond the immediate intensity of the alcohol’s nose.
The boxes were made by Scottish cabinet maker and furniture restorer Duke Christie, using oak from the Macallan estate.
After the event, Dove created personal scent profiles for each guest—something he can suss in mere seconds.
Visitors to £10, which hosted the event, will find one of the most extensive Macallan collections in the United States including reproductions of the fabled Macallan bottling of 1841 and the world's only remaining two ounces of a 64 year old expression. The bar is named after the Scottish ten pound note, which features an illustration of The Macallan's stills. Interior done by SquareRoot.

To ensure that tastings are handled with the utmost authenticity, ice for your
Macallan is made from Scottish spring water shipped directly to the bar.

For more information on the distillery's alchemistic partnership with Dove, watch the video:

All photography courtesy Jessica Kaminski and The Macallan

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