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Toast The Macallan Sydney 2017

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I have a confession to make; my reasons for getting into whisky blogging were not entirely altruistic. The potential to be invited to sweet whisky events and perhaps imbibe even sweeter whisky – for free – was indeed a driving factor. Well, now that your image of me as a selfless writer is well and truly shattered, I am happy to report I recently received my first invite to such a whisky event and did indeed enjoy not only free whisky (including a full-size bottle as a parting gift) but also free food!...Tick and tick.


But this isn’t a post about how to get free whisky, it is an account of how The Macallan put on a whisky event and why they really are one of the best in the business for engaging with their target market. This was my second Macallan-focussed tasting event, but Toast The Macallan Australia is on a different level to your average whisky tasting night. Held at the Roslyn Packer Theatre (previously the Sydney Theatre), in the heart of Sydney, Edrington (owner of the Macallan brand) selected and decked out a stunning location.

The Richard Wherrett Studio with its wooden floorboards, high ceiling and beautiful bare brick walls dating back more that 100 years to the building’s warehouse beginnings, provided a perfect setting for fine dining and whisky tasting. Toast The Macallan has been held in South-East Asia previously but has only recently arrived in Australia; coinciding with the release onto the Australian market of The Macallan Double Oak 12 Years Old single malt whisky. The format follows a three-course fine dining meal, expertly paired with a selection of Macallan whiskies. In the case of the Sydney event, the food was curated by Australian chef James Viles of Bowral’s two hatted Biota Dining and I can report it was one of the best things I have ever tasted and not just because it was free.

Unfortunately for me, I had underestimated the effect of the Vivid Festival on Sydney traffic and arrived late, missing out on the canapés but still managing to grab a cocktail on my way into the venue. Canapés on offer included dried pear cigars filled with sheep’s milk blue cheese, charcoal bark with whipped roe cream, fermented garlic and clay-cooked beetroot tartare and duck ham with endive and goat's cheese. All of the canapés were delicious, apparently – I was particularly disappointed to have missed out on the duck ham. Accompanying the canapés were two whisky cocktails, an Old Fashioned made with The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old and the only one I got to try, a cocktail of The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Years Old, Oloroso sherry, tonic and lemon thyme which was very tasty and refreshing.

Our host for the evening was The Macallan Brand Ambassador, Sietse Offringa, son of Hans Offringa, professional whisky writer and author of more than 20 books. Sietse was brought up surrounded by whisky and developed a love and appreciation for the brown spirit from an early age. It was a pleasure to listen to Sietse (the most Scottish sounding Dutchman you are likely to find) introduce us to a selection of The Macallan range, which included The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Years Old, Double Cask 12 Years Old and The Macallan Rare Cask.

The star whisky of the evening was The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old single malt, new to the Australian market and now readily available.

I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of this whisky and will write a full review in due time. The ‘Double Cask’ in the name comes from the use of both ex-sherry European and American oak casks, each bringing unique flavour profiles that are expertly combined to produce the final whisky. I did not bother critically comparing the three whiskies on the night, preferring instead to simply enjoy them, but I did enjoy The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old the most of the three.

Toast The Macallan would not have been the same without the amazing three-course meal provided by James Viles; it was enough for me to add visiting Biota Dining in Bowral to my bucket list and was expertly paired with the selection of whiskies. Entrée was smoked kingfish loin, with lime, and white radish and kelp oil served with charcoal corn, and citrus and wild fennel salad. The use of wildflowers paired well with the floral characteristics of the Fine Oak 12 Years Old and the citrus and fennel were most definitely present in the Double Cask 12 Years Old.

The main was a glazed beef rib that fell apart and almost dissolved in the mouth. It was served with chestnut crème and rappe stem. Raw chestnuts were also passed around which I thought tasted a bit like raw coconut.

The beef was complemented beautifully with a dish of wild mushrooms with what I believe was a smoked cream. The richness of this course paired very well with the richer flavours and silky texture of The Macallan Rare Cask.

Dessert was an amazing honey crème with toasted rye grains and artichoke ice cream topped with a thin crunchy bark made from the water left over from cooking the rye grain. The ice cream was frozen with liquid nitrogen immediately prior to serving and together with the crunchy popcorn-like rye grains and honey crème was simply delicious and a perfect way to end the evening.

Toast The Macallan was a truly enjoyable and engaging night of fine whisky and fine dining.

The Macallan sets a very high bar when it comes to hosting events such as this and there is no doubt why they have positioned themselves as a premium luxury brand among Scotch whisky. But that said, both the Fine Oak 12 Years Old and the new to Australia Double Cask 12 Years Old are quite reasonably priced at around A$110. I encourage you to give them a try and to jump at the chance to attend any future events hosted by The Macallan; you will not be disappointed.


My opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way, neither was I paid for this article. However, my attendance at this event was arranged by the Porter Novelli PR agency and I did receive a free bottle of The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old single malt on leaving…Score!

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