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The cool spirit

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When James Bond switches up his trademark martini for Macallan scotch whiskey, you know this spirit is so cool, it's now haute.

(That's “hot” as spoken by Scottish friends, although “elegant and stylish”, the French interpretation, also fits.)

The most recent Bond movie Skyfall features Macallan in multiple scenes, including the label's top-of-the-line Macallan 1962 Fine and Rare Vintage — the choice of the 50-year-old spirit is a homage to the 50th anniversary of Bond.

Gosling's Limited put the spotlight on The Macallan 1824 series of single malt scotches during a visit by representatives of the brands.

The event celebrated Macallan's founding, along with that of the even higher end Highland Park label.

It seemed appropriate that the celebrations were held here, as Ian Fleming's original books about the spy were in part inspired by wartime Bermuda.

Gosling's organised a tasting menu, pairing the drinks with festive foods which were then prepared Miles Market's chef Brian Ricciardi.

Juan Campos, marketing manager for whiskies at Edrington,

He explained their creator is their whisky maker Bob Dalgarno.

Macallan Amber is amber in hue and less intense than the others in the series. It and its cousin, Macallan's 12-year-old Highland single malt scotch whisky, were served with smoked salmon and crème fraîche, along with succulent crab cakes.

Macallan and Highland Park's Caribbean director Phillip Jarrell said of Macallan's Sienna: “This is so different from any of the other Macallans — there's more smoke, lots of spice in the mouth, green apple, citrus and it's full of flavour.”

It was served with seared fresh tuna and crisp Asian pear.

The final whiskey in the series is The Macallan Ruby, a rich and mature single malt. Described as polished and warm, it's a superb match for a cornucopia of rich dishes including the bacon-wrapped venison tenderloin and the blue-veined St Agur cheese, served that evening.

Although Highland Park whiskies are less known, their 25-year-old has been lauded as “the best spirit in the world” by spirits authority F Paul Pacult.

It dates back to the final years of the 1700s. As explained by the distillers: “The Orkney Islands have an abundance of this sweet, heathery peat, which is 4,000 years old and is carefully selected from Hobbister Moor. The peat we cut is a mixture of textures and aromas ranging from a more floral heather-rich top layer, to a darker, denser material, the mixture giving the resulting smoke a slow burning and complex aroma.”

The distillery manager, Graham Manson, says the peat “is the key to understanding and appreciating Highland Park”.

Among the Highland Park offerings are Dark Origins, a new whisky that celebrates the illicit distiller and distillery founder Magnus Eunson, a pastor by day who hid the whisky he created by night in his pulpit.

Dark Origins is created using twice as many first-fill sherry casks than in their core Highland Park 12-year-old, which results in a “naturally darker, richer flavour”.

Highland Park's newest whisky to its heart, their 12-year-old, was introduced in 1979. Its “rich, well-balanced malty tones with the subtle floral smoke” are described as the reasons Highland Park is “such a distinctive single malt whisky”.

The Macallan Sienna and Highland Park Dark Origin will be available in limited quantities in April.

Highland Park's Dark Origins, a whiskey created to celebrate the illicit beginnings of the distillery
Macallan Highland single malt scotch whiskey's 1824 Series
“The best spirit in the world” according to spirits authority F Paul Pacult
A table of good spirits - at the Macallan and Highland Park tasting, whiskey afficionados were able to sample eight varieties.
Macallan and Highland Park whiskeys poured for tasting purposes
Smoked salmon and crab cakes are classic pairings with lighter whiskeys such as Macallan's Sherry Oak 12 year old Scotch

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Published December 05, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated December 05, 2014 at 2:01 am)

The cool spirit

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