Last week, I was passing through London on my way to visit the grower of The Malt Impostor’s own proprietary, fully patented GMO dates (they’re designed to have the almond already inside). Why GMO dates, you ask? Well, the otters (like the ferrets before them) are absolutely crazy for them. Plus, for a while there, Bill and I thought this might be the only way we could guarantee that John got any dates at all.
Anyway, we had received an invite to the opening of “The Macallan Residence,” a two evening event in London’s Two Temple Place, and one of those nights coincided with my passing through. Lucky me! So on the prescribed evening last week, I donned my best power tie and made my way to rub elbows with the whisky intelligentsia of The Square Mile.
As neo-Gothic mansions built by William Waldorf Astor go, Two Temple Place is a pretty spectacular one. Astor, then the richest man in the world, had it built shortly after emigrating from the United States to England (he later became a British subject and later a Viscount). Two Temple Place looks the part of a mansion from days of yore, and The Macallan had decked out well.
The evening began with a cocktail that was refreshing and included ginger ale, but I tend to prefer my Macallan straight up, so I moved on and found the VIP room where I could get a dram of the Rare Cask. It’s a lovely, albeit expensive, NAS whisky of the quality you would expect from the Macallan. We’ll have a sample soon and a review not too long after that, I suspect, so stay tuned. Once the party got started, though, famed cocktail man Wayne Collins talked everyone through making another cocktail (his take on the Old Fashioned, if I remember correctly–but I probably don’t, because I was drinking Rare Cask at the time).
Soon I ran into Gerry Tosh of the Edrington Group, who graciously agreed to be photographed with me and Bill in the Grouchos at WhiskyFest NYC a couple of years ago. Since I had no Grouchos with me (I suck at packing), we used the props supplied for the photo booth they had set up and managed a close approximation. It was great catching up with Gerry and then getting the chance to meet and talk with The Macallan’s Director of Fine and Rare Malt Whiskies, David Cox. Given David’s storied career in whisky, it’s no surprise that I walked away from our two conversations that evening with new insights into the whisky industry.
The highlight of the event for me was the pairing with chocolates from L’Artisan du Chocolat. Amazing, amazing, amazing. If anyone tells you whisky should not be paired with chocolate, they haven’t tried with some of the world’s best chocolate. The first was a salted caramel (the caramel was still liquid inside) with the Macallan Amber; the second a chocolate ganache with Tasmanian honey (if I remember correctly) with the Macallan Sienna; and the third was a chocolate infused with tobacco leaves with the Ruby. Each was stunning, but the caramel was out of this world. By itself. The whisky added a layer of gorgeousness, but my God, that caramel… The tobacco infused one offered such subtle flavors, I almost couldn’t believe it. And then paired with Ruby to create a smoky cigar sort of combination, it stepped up very close to perfection. My only regret is that I did not have time to work on that last one in particular for about another hour–because I believe the finish would’ve lasted that long.
As the evening wore on and the DJ got going, I explored the other examples of fine craftsmanship they had on display in the Macallan Residence. Shinola of Detroit had a nice display of its watches and leather goods, as did bespoke tailor Timothy Everest. Nice stuff all around, and I thought to myself, If this is what Shinola looks like, I don’t see how anyone has trouble telling the difference.
All in all, it’s a beautiful mansion that was beautifully appointed with Macallan and chocolate goodness, which made it a wonderful setting for showcasing the expressions of one of the more revered and sought after whisky brands in the world. Please see more pictures below.