THE MACALLAN EDITION NO. 3
Journey of the senses The sweet and fruity Macallan Edition No. 3 is the result of an extraordinary collaboration between the Scottish single malt maker and British master perfumer Roja Dove. Chris Hanrahan reports from Singapore
asked a recent article in a magazine for aficionados of what the playwright George Bernard Shaw called “liquid sunshine”. It certainly seems to be that way at the 390-acre Macallan Estate in Speyside in northeastern Scotland.
The renowned Highland single malt distillery’s latest release, The Macallan Edition No. 3, is the result of an extraordinary collaboration involving Ken Grier, Creative Director of The Macallan at The Edrington Group, and two masters of their respective trades: Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker at The Macallan, and Roja Dove (pictured overleaf), the British master perfumer dubbed by Tom Ford “the fragrance connoisseur’s connoisseur”.
The story began 10 years ago, as Dove recalled during an interview held shortly before The Macallan Edition No. 3’s launch in Singapore. “The first time I met Ken was in a hotel in London,” he said. “We were both part of a group and we talked about many things. It was a very enjoyable conversation. Eventually somebody, and I really don’t remember who it was, said wouldn’t it be great if we could work together and create a unique whisky?
“It was just a throwaway line as far as I was concerned and my answer was that I hated Scotch! It was a very strange beginning to the relationship, but that was what I honestly felt. It all went back to my memories of the first time I ever got drunk. It was on whisky when I was only 15. I’d never felt so ill.”
Grier did not give up on the idea, however. “He persuaded me to go up to Scotland to meet Bob Dalgarno,” said Dove. “Everybody was concerned about how he and I would get on. He is a typical gentleman from the whisky world. I’m from a very different place, the world of fragrances, and I turned up at the distillery in an ankle-length mink coat – well, it was the middle of winter.”
The two masters bonded quickly as Dove put aside his misgivings about Scotch and set about sniffing examples from Dalgarno’s huge collection of whiskies. “I nosed 16 to 20 bottles to begin with,” said the perfumer. “I smelled citrus in one, roses in another. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe that whisky could have such aromas. I tried more and more bottles. On the first day alone, I ended up nosing 100 or more whiskies. It was a journey of the senses. Eventually, I realised I could do The Macallan project after all.”
Ten years after that fateful meeting in London, The Macallan Edition No. 3 is the latest release in an innovative annual series of special whiskies. Dove provided his remarkable sensory knowledge and