Scottish whisky round-up: The Macallan releases new whiskies in the Harmony Collection celebrating coffee

To be known as Scotch whisky, the liquid must be produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley that have been “processed at that distillery into a mash, converted at that distillery to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems, fermented at that distillery only by adding yeast, and distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8 per cent”.

In basic terms, it must be made from water, malted barley and yeast, and aged in oak barrels in Scotland for a minimum of three years.

Over time, the rules on casks have been slightly eased, meaning distilleries can play around with cask finishes, with varying results in flavour profiles. Creativity around the casks, and the ability to select and try out different wine, port or, in some cases other spirits such as Mezcal, is usually down to the master blender.

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There are now a plethora of cask finishes available, with the latest coming from Tomatin, which is celebrating summer, and specifically Portuguese wine, with their latest release. Their Portuguese Collection expressions were each distilled on September 8, 2006 and laid down in traditional Scotch Whisky oak casks for more than eight years. On April 23, 2015, the whisky was then moved into Tawny Port, Moscatel de Setúbal and Madeira Wine casks for a further seven years.

The Macallan Harmony Collection
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If you’ve ever wondered how coffee and whisky may mix, then the Macallan has the answer. Taking inspiration from Ethiopian Arabica coffee bean, the whisky powerhouse has released new expressions that form the second edition of their Harmony Collection – The Macallan Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica and The Macallan Harmony Collection Smooth Arabica. The Macallan whisky maker Steven Bremner has created the intensely flavoured whiskies to pair with coffee, and spoke to many coffee experts, including Dear Green’s Lisa Lawson, on his journey to making these drams.

Finally, for something a bit simpler, Edinburgh-based entrepreneurs Ryan McCafferty and Ola Lopatowska have launched Tri Carragh, a brand of single-cask whisky that puts the fundamentals front and centre. Named after the Gaelic translation of ‘three pillars’, it celebrates and showcases whisky’s three core ingredients – water, barley and yeast – which, as we’ve mentioned, have been used for centuries to produce Scotland’s finest spirit.

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