The Macallan with Roja Dove- 10.04.10
It makes perfect sense to pair a fragrance specialist with a drinks brand, when scent is such a critical component of any drink experience! It’s been a Liqurious few weeks between being with Veuve Clicquot in the champagne region, and then with The Macallan in the scottish highlands the last few weeks, and one thing that’s been pressed into me is the importance of the Nose… sniffing the various notes, tasting and appreciating the various scents, and layers of scents… granted, i’ve played with the 50 Vial Aroma Set Maestro Dobel had sent over… but it isn’t until this experience with Roja Dove that i fully understood how all of these notes fit together.
The Macallan has teamed up with Roja Dove (changed from Rodger) ~ who is a frangrance specialist, who went from doing medical research at Cambridge, to nearly 20 years working in the House of Guerlain, to opening his own extremely curated haven of a parfumerie in Harrods, where customers can even have bespoke scents made from scratch (not just tweaked from existing ones)… What’s unique here, is that together, The Macallan and the non-whisky loving Roja Dove (he had some bad experiences with as a kid with whisky) have found a way to separate the experience of the scents found in The Macallan from the actual taste/alcohol. And this special kit Roja Dove has created contains 12 scents to allow brand ambassadors to share the experience of learning and understanding the layers of scents that come together to form both the Sherry Oak and Fine Oak Whisky. Take a peek at more pictures of the experience, the kit, and explanations of the various scents i experienced. It was rather…. nose opening, to say the least.
Here’s a look at the kit ~ all 12 scents lined up in the custom wood case…
In this cozy little alcove, within his Harrods parfumerie, we curled up with Roja, had sandwiches and talked perfume…
the most beautiful detail of the kit is this cask around the keyhole!
The perfume paper strips are specially made of pressed paper with no binding agent, such that, when the perfumes are soaked in, no glue is released into the scent… keeping it pure!
Each bottle, stopper, and hole is numbered…
As we began, Roja numbered and handed out the various scent strips for us to place in these springy holders before smelling any of them…
Much of the discussion was about the difficulty to get everyone able to verbalize what they experience when it comes to scents and tastes, such that others can understand as well ~ so, the below descriptions are from Roja himself, and when i smelled them, it made perfect sense! The first 6 scents are three pairs used to illustrate the some key scent differences:
The first pair: Viscous/Deep/Heavy (Depth) vs Effervescent/Moving (Diffusion) The first is a mix of vanilla and earthy tones, compared to a second more spicy one that warms the cheeks.
The second pair: Warm/Dry vs Coolness The first is achieved through precious wood notes, the second using exceptional floral notes.
The third pair: Mature/Ageing (Polished/Finished) vs Immature (more one dimensional) This third pair was an entry to the smooth, rich complexity that aging brings to the world of The Macallan.
To experience each of these pairs, we first inhale the first ~ then the second ~ and repeat till we fully experience and understand the differences (which are quite obvious!)
The second 6 scents are in two sets of 3 ~ the first set represents the Macallan Sherry Oak, and the second set represents the Macallan Fine Oak.
To experience these, we first smell the scents one by one, then waft the grouping of three under our noses… surprisingly (and after days of Macallan tasting) it really does remind me of the Sherry and Fine Oak!
The Macallan Sherry Oak -
First note - Spices - especially nutmeg and clove
Second note - Dried Fruits - Raisins and (spiced) sultans
Third note - Chocolate Orange
The Macallan Fine Oak -
First note - Vanilla
Second note - Tropical Fruits
Third note - Floral/Fragrant/Perfumed/Cinnamon
It really is quite a fascinating experience to have experience so much of The Macallan, including the smells of the various places and stages of the whisky being made ~ what comes from the New Make Spirit, what comes from the Cask wood, and so much more… so it’s quite fascinating to isolate the nose of the final product through these Signature Aromas that Roja Dove made alongside Whisky Makers Bob Dalgarno and Ian Morrison at The Macallan. “These capture the world of The Macallan, from the cool, damp oak forests of northern Spain, to the heat and vibrant colours in the Spain, or of the green rolling hills and the river Spey of The Macallan’s home in Scotland. The capture the heat and noise of the cooperage, to the gentle maturation of their precious whisky over years sleeping in the casks.” If you have a chance, definitely get your Macallan Ambassador to share the scents with you, followed by a dram to compare them too!