How do you distil the world’s most alive city into a whisky? This was a question asked by The Macallan’s whisky maker Polly Logan as she embarked on crafting the Distil Your World New York single malt. Those who have explored the Big Apple may understand this mammoth of a task, especially as the multicultural and intensely rich place has so much to offer. To accurately create the Distil Your World whiskies, The Macallan collaborated with long-standing partners the Roca brothers, owners of the El Celler de Can Roca, which has been named Best Restaurant in the World twice.
Distil Your World New York is a limited-edition single malt said to encapsulate the dynamic nature of the Big Apple, combining six European and American oak casks to capture the distinct characteristics that make it so special. Inspired by the art, iconic architecture and familiar flavours of
New York, Logan was able to make a unique drink. With the colour of sunrise and a nose of peanut brittle and milk chocolate, this whisky is said to taste like baked apple and raisin, with notes of maple syrup and a roasted nut finish — flavours that bring the city to life.
“This project is a homage to the people of New York, the daring, creative and diverse characters we’ve met along the way. This whisky is bold, vibrant and uplifting — just like each of them,” Logan says. “We really looked towards the quintessential tastes of New York — sweet candy, waffles, peanut brittle, chocolate and pecans. Its thriving street food scene was a great source of inspiration.”
To introduce this exceptional bottle, The Macallan held a luncheon at Gordon Ramsay Bar & Grill, Subang Jaya. It kicked off with a beautifully crafted New York sour — made different from a whisky sour with the addition of red wine artfully floating on top — in a private dining room specially equipped for the occasion.
While we were unable to sample the star whisky — a limited edition of only 1,000 bottles — the Distil Your World New York bottle was on display with its eye-catching white presentation box, which includes an engraved aerial map of the city. To represent the sky and water that surrounds it, touches of blue on the box and bottle were added.
When we were comfortably seated, lunch began with an amuse and two starters, paired with The Macallan Triple Cask 12 Years Old — a rare discontinued whisky with the aroma of vanilla and a soft, creamy taste with a hint of spice. The oyster with seaweed and caviar beurre blanc was a treat, and the single malt brought out its light and velvety flavour. The aged steak tartare — beef fillet, gherkin gel and game chips — had an unctuous egg yolk confit that really brought all the flavours together, and the crunch of the chips combined with the tangy gherkin made for a satisfying bite. The meat tapped into the citrus flavours of the whisky, and paired beautifully.
The next starter was an Arnold Bennett twice-baked souffle with smoked haddock, aged cheddar cheese and fine herbs salad. Fluffy and cheesy, this rich souffle was beautifully cut with the The Macallan Triple Cask 12 Years Old. As our next course was served, we were shown a 30-minute documentary that follows Logan and Joan Roca as they explore New York and engage with artists and visionaries who make up the fabric of its culture. Some names of note are famous jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and legendary street artist Lady Pink.
Our chosen main was the restaurant’s signature, the classic beef Wellington with pomme purée and truffle herb jus. Watching the waiter slice the beautiful Wellington was certainly a great experience; the taste was everything one dreams of after watching many seasons of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef — both starring Gordon Ramsay. The pastry was flaky, the meat perfectly rare and the duxelle an earthy mix that brought everything together. This star of the show was served with The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old, a honey forward whisky with a creamy mouthfeel.
Already very full with the exceptional meal, we were served dessert, a hearty slice of 64% Manjari chocolate tart with honeycomb, yoghurt sorbet and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Paired with this sweet treat was The Macallan Classic Cut 2019. Launched in 2017, it has had a high ABV (this one was 51%) in every release, but each with a unique flavour. The 2019 batch had notes of candied ginger and orange peel, and a strong alcohol bite that prevented the tart from feeling overwhelmingly rich.
In the documentary, Logan asks, “How do you distil the most alive city in the world into a whisky?” She answers at the end, “By coming to meet the people.” Indulging in whisky, listening to smooth jazz and tucking into a hearty meal, we got a taste of the New York that The Macallan’s maker is hoping to evoke. And it was certainly unforgettable.
This article first appeared on Oct 3, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.