Following on from The Macallan’s previous luxury partnerships – which have included glass maker Lalique, Bentley Motors, fashion house Dunhill, pop artist Sir Peter Blake and a series of famous photographers such as Annie Leibovitz for its ongoing Masters of Photography series – the Scottish whisky brand, today, unveiled its most daring initiative: The Macallan Masters of Taste.
At a high profile launch in Catalonia, Spain which included media guests from 15 countries – with Asian markets and Russia strongly represented – the single malt announced its tie-up with the world’s best restaurant*, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona. The Roca brothers – Joan, Josep and Jordi (in main picture) – secured the top position in April 2013 and hope to keep it this year.
Some 18 months in the making, the alliance brings together Macallan’s accepted mastery in single malt whisky-making, with the precision crafted cuisine of the Rocas to develop a luxury taste experience based, at its core, on whisky notes and flavours.
Ken Grier (left), Director of The Macallan, said today: “Whisky and cuisine have a long-standing connection but never have two partners come together to really explore what this could, and should mean. Our collaboration is set to break down classic perceptions of food pairing and enter into a whole new, awe-inspiring world of taste and flavour experience.”
Joan Roca (right) of El Celler de Can Roca commented: “We are using aromas of The Macallan whiskies to create a new cuisine – it is a gauntlet we have accepted and we will take it as far as we can.”
Brother Josep added: “It is both a pleasure and an exciting challenge to work with The Macallan team. We combine knowledge, effort and hard work to improve in areas that individually we could have never imagined we could achieve – all with a strong commitment to innovation.”
$10,000 CHARITY DINNERS
The first outcome of the collaboration will be what The Macallan calls ‘The Ultimate Dinner, with six gastronomic charity evenings to be held at El Celler de Can Roca in June and July this year. But a senior source at The Macallan told TRBusiness that product development – with travel retail an expected target – would potentially be a part of the future fruit of this partnership.
According to both parties, each of the dinners will involve “the most exquisite combination of gastronomy and whisky making” with exclusively designed dishes, inspired by the flavour and character of The Macallan. These dishes – 10 snacks, 10 dishes and two desserts – are based on the Roca brothers’ sampling of more than 300 whiskies chosen by Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan’s Whisky Maker at the single malt’s distillery in Speyside, Scotland.
In addition, a range of 11 rare and unreleased Macallan single-cask malts will be available for tasting, plus M, the world’s most expensive whisky [the 6-litre Imperiale decanter made by Lalique sold for $628,000 in January this year]. Macallan’s 62-year-old will also be on the whisky menu and according to Jaume Ferràs (below), Global Marketing Manager – who was instrumental in driving the collaboration – a newly created 67-year-old, the oldest single malt from The Macallan, will also make its debut at the dinners.
This unique combination of haute cuisine and fine whiskies will not be served anywhere in the world except on these six occasions and will cost diners $10,000 per head. The events will be open to a very limited number of people, currently expected to be 150 in total.
In line with the philanthropic aims of both partners, the net proceeds from the dinners, together with a further contribution from The Macallan will go to charities which as yet are still to be announced.
According to a Macallan spokesperson, since the news of the charity dinners went online earlier this afternoon, the company has already had a number of calls from interested parties.
The dinner dates are Sunday 29 and Monday 30 June and Sunday 6, Monday 7, Sunday 20 and Monday 21 July when the restaurant will be exclusively opened.
This latest alliance is underpinned by Spain and its significance to both partners. The Macallan has an inherent connection through its commitment to Spanish oak sherry seasoned casks – in the financial year 2013/14 it will spend £16.4m/$27.2m in total on its casks. Spanish oak sherry seasoned casks are the most influential factor in the final flavour and character of Macallan’s single malts according to the company.
For El Celler de Can Roca, the family’s Spanish heritage has heavily shaped its ethos and enabled them to establish themselves as the leading force in Spanish cuisine. A spokesperson for the restaurant says: “Our kitchen is a dialogue with small producers, farmers, artists and scientists based on transversal knowledge as a key to creativity.”
* The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list is an annual survey of opinions and experiences from more than 900 international restaurant experts organised by Restaurant magazine.