The Macallan releases a whole lot of new expressions throughout the year, so it’s no wonder the distillery is always looking for inspiration. Chocolate, James Bond and New York City have all been the muses for recent whiskies, but now it’s time for coffee to perk things up.
The Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica and The Macallan Harmony Collection Smooth Arabica are a new duo of single malt scotches from The Macallan, each said to be influenced by the Ethiopian Arabica coffee bean. The former will be available in the US next month, while the latter is a travel retail exclusive. This is the second release in the Harmony Collection, the first being last year’s duo of Rich Cacao and Fine Cacao single malts.
So how exactly does a sherry cask-matured scotch evoke the buzz of a cup of joe? Whisky maker Steven Bremner wanted to create an expression that would pair perfectly with your espresso, so he worked with a group of caffeinated experts including Ethiopian grower Kenean Asefa Dukamo, Scottish roaster Lisa Lawson and acclaimed American barista Andrea Allen. “Exploring the world of coffee with our masters in the industry, who shared their knowledge, creativity, and love for their art, was both an education and an inspiration,” said Bremner in a statement. “There are many parallels between the approach to creating incomparable whisky and coffee. Each requires unique skills and craftsmanship to achieve depth and complexity of taste and both worlds aim to deliver an extraordinary consumption experience.”
Each whisky was aged in a combination of American and European oak casks, as are many of The Macallan’s whiskies, but the two expressions are said to have differing characteristics. Intense Arabica is more of your morning redeye jolt with strong espresso notes and an ABV of 44 percent, while Smooth Arabica is kind of a softer flat white or Americano with an ABV of 40 percent. Bremner recommends pairing both with coffee, of course. “I sought out intense notes in The Macallan’s traditional sherry seasoned European oak casks that would offer the rich and satisfying elements of coffee,” he said, “with the influence of sherry seasoned American oak casks adding sweeter and softer vanilla notes for a balanced and rounded experience.”
The whiskies come in boxes that are made partially from repurposed coffee bean husks, created by Italian paper mill Favini along with The Macallan. Intense Arabica will be available at the distillery and online starting this month and then at US retailers in November, while you can find Smooth Arabica at The Macallan boutiques in airports around the world, each with an SRP of $185.