A minute with Mr. Keith Nair, Re­gional Brand Am­bas­sador, The Ma­callan

Mr. Keith Nair, Re­gional Brand Am­bas­sador, The Ma­callan, ex­plains the many ways of en­joy­ing whisky

Portfolio - - IMPRESSION - BY VIC­TOR CHEN

What qual­i­ties do you share with The Ma­callan?

Since it was es­tab­lished in 1824, The Ma­callan has been known for qual­i­ta­tive pas­sion in whisky mak­ing. An un­wa­ver­ing pas­sion for my craft is my guid­ing prin­ci­ple when I host a big event or an in­ti­mate whisky tast­ing. The Ma­callan has been known since it was es­tab­lished in 1824 for the qual­i­ta­tive pas­sion in whisky mak­ing. This is ex­em­pli­fied through one of the brand pil­lars which en­com­passes the sourc­ing, craft­ing, and nur­tur­ing of the most pre­cious oak casks in the in­dus­try to ma­ture whisky be­fore be­ing bot­tled at nat­u­ral colour. Ex­cep­tional oak casks are nec­es­sary to pro­duce ex­cep­tional whiskies.

What qual­i­fies you as a brand am­bas­sador?

There is no spe­cific ‘qual­i­fi­ca­tion’ to be­come a brand am­bas­sador per se; how­ever, in my opin­ion, noth­ing beats ex­pe­ri­ence. Be­ing the in­ter­nal sub­ject mat­ter ex­pert and ex­ter­nal spokesper­son for a lux­ury brand like The Ma­callan, cat­e­gory knowl­edge and in­dus­try know-how is paramount. Hu­mil­ity and the abil­ity to con­nect with au­di­ences from all walks of life, from a novice whisky en­thu­si­ast to a con­nois­seur, are also im­por­tant. These help con­sumers en­joy the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

How should peo­ple be ini­ti­ated into the plea­sures of drink­ing whisky?

First off, do not let any­one tell you how you should en­joy your whisky. If it is your first time, I would sug­gest hav­ing a glass of wa­ter on the side. Take your time to nose the aro­mas and fla­vor notes at your own pace, and don’t worry about not be­ing able to sniff out the ‘caramelized pears’ from the back of the

pack – ev­ery in­di­vid­ual has his own sen­sory li­brary made out of mem­ory. In other words, if you say trea­cle I say gula melaka. When it comes to tast­ing, take a very small sip to coat your en­tire tongue, and lit­er­ally chew the liq­uid un­til you sali­vate (yes, whisky be­tween your teeth). The smaller sips you take, and the more times you chew, the more fla­vors you can ac­cess. Once get to know the fla­vors a lit­tle bet­ter, you will know whether it de­serves a splash of wa­ter, ice, or just the in­ner curves of your glass.

Is whisky cock­tail, say Whisky with Green Tea, a le­git­i­mate drink or a form of heresy?

De­pends what green tea and who’s mak­ing it! There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to cock­tails; balanc­ing your fa­vorite in­gre­di­ents is key as long as the base fla­vor (whisky) is still rec­og­niz­able in your mix. In fact, the fresh cit­rus notes from The Ma­callan Triple Cask 12 Years Old, if bal­anced cor­rectly, weave in nicely with the likes of Sen­cha or a dust­ing of Matcha.

Are you a ‘whisky despot’ who only tol­er­ates cer­tain forms of en­joy­ing whisky?

The best way to drink whisky is any way you like it. I wouldn’t say that I am a staunch ‘go neat or go home’ kind of per­son, but I like to nose a new whisky neat. If the al­co­hol seems too sharp on the nose, I cut it with a bit of wa­ter, and then comes the tast­ing. Af­ter tast­ing it, I will know my pre­ferred drink­ing style. In this part of the world whisky on the rocks is re­fresh­ing con­sid­er­ing the trop­i­cal weather; in not so sunny Scot­land (some­times) hav­ing it neat is more sat­is­fy­ing.

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