Single malt whisky inspired by the Scottish countryside

(From left) Lee, Edrington Malaysia country manager Ken Lam and marketing manager Kiki Loo with glasses of Amber Meadow whisky to show its summer evening hue. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

Single malt whisky label The Macallan unveiled the third release of its Harmony Collection, Amber Meadow, with an experiential event in Penang.

Held in Gurney Plaza, the pop-up first transported whisky connoisseurs to the Scottish Highlands via an immersive video tunnel, which brought the imagery of misty meadows to life.

Flowing water and chirping birds, as well as gusts of chilled air, further evoked the sensation of being in such scenic natural surroundings.

This reflected the essence of Amber Meadow – a limited edition single malt whisky created in collaboration with renowned fashion designer Stella and acclaimed photographer Mary McCartney.

It was inspired by the sisters’ deep affection for Scotland, which stems from their memories of spending summer days in vast amber fields at their family farm in the Scottish countryside, as well as at The Macallan Estate.

Visitors to the event, called “The Macallan Harmony Collection Experience, Inspired by Nature”, found a circular bar illuminated with Stella’s favourite quote “No Smile, No Service”.

Here, The Macallan brand ambassador Jeremy Lee guided them through a thoughtfully curated dram-tasting experience.

On the nose, there were notes of honeysuckle, vanilla, coconut and ripe barley fields.

The same combination greeted the palate but with an additional citrusy zing from lemon and orange, as well as green tea.

Whisky maker Steve Bremner said with Amber Meadow, he wanted to celebrate the scents prevalent in Scotland during the spring and summer.

“The burst of life as the Scottish countryside awakes from its winter slumber releases a sensorial abundance of character that becomes rich and heady.

“You’ll find coconut aromas from flowering gorse bushes, malty notes from barley and citrus from the multitude of meadow flowers and honeysuckle whose aroma is timed to release in the warm evenings to attract moths for pollination,” Bremner said.

This expression of whisky was made using a combination of sherry-seasoned oak and bourbon casks.

Its colour is called “summer evening”, to recall the joys of spending time outdoors with friends and family.

“American bourbon casks impart floral, light citrus, coconut and vanilla notes. When you put it together with European sherry wood, you get a richer, more robust complexity.

“It is like bringing two worlds into one universe,” Lee added of Amber Meadow, which is bottled at 44.2% alcohol by volume (ABV).

He said this inherently innovative, creative and curious mindset had long been the hallmark of the brand, which was founded in 1824 on a plateau above the River Spey in northeast Scotland.

An award-winning new distillery was opened in its beautiful 196ha estate in 2018.

The Harmony Collection – a series of limited annual releases – is further reflection of that.

The first releases in 2021 were the chocolate-inspired Rich Cacao and Fine Cacao, followed by the coffee-bean inspired Intense Arabica and Smooth Arabica last year.

Notably, the collection features distinctive and innovative packaging that breathes new life into organic byproducts.

For Amber Meadow and its counterpart Green Meadow, the boxes and labels are made from discarded meadow cuttings.

This also echoes the McCartney sisters’ reverence for the land.

Guests at the event also sampled two cocktails, Nostalgia and Faiche, made with the Amber Meadow.

There was also an interactive activity of arranging dried flowers between clear acrylic sheets, allowing each to take home a personalised keepsake.

The event in Penang followed one held at Starhill, Kuala Lumpur, earlier in the year.

Edrington South-East Asia and Pacific managing director Kok Lai Ching said Penang stood out as one of the key cities in Malaysia for its vibrant bar scene.

“The burgeoning interest in gastronomy and appreciation for whisky here aligns with The Macallan’s celebration of craftsmanship, heritage and timelessness.

“It connects whisky, particularly single malts, with the mixology community and cocktail culture,” Kok said.

Amber Meadow whisky can be purchased at Joo Huat Wines and Spirits and Mercato, in Penang.

Cocktails using the spirit are also available until April 30 at Backdoor Bodega, Manchu Bar and Magazine 63 in George Town.

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