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Cultures come together in the making of the Macallan Litha

The Macallan Litha is a summery surprise for the senses, with a nose and palate suggestive of long days and warmer clime.

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

In partnership with

The Macallan

In partnership with

The Macallan

In partnership with

The Macallan

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

Summery, shimmering lightness are not adjectives commonly associated with whisky – but in the hands of a master maker, the spirit’s true versatility can be expressed. Taking its name from the ancient Celtic word for the Summer Solstice, the Macallan Litha is an extraordinary exemplar of whisky’s ability to surprise and delight while remaining true to tradition.

Launched in Macao on 15 September, the Macallan Litha is a single malt “which captures our unwavering dedication to uncompromised excellence, and the powerful synergy that occurs when two forces come together,” says the Macallan Master Whisky Maker Kirsteen Campbell.

Those forces are not only summed up in the seasonal change that takes place at Summer Solstice – when the hours of daylight are at their peak – but also in the ancient, spirit and wine-making traditions of two very different climates: Scotland and Spain.

The journey of the Macallan Litha begins under the Andalusian sun. It warms the grapes that are used to make the sherry that in turn seasons the oak casks, made to the Macallan’s specifications, by craftsmen in the city of Jerez de La Frontera. From there, the casks travel to northeast Scotland, and the 485-acre Macallan estate on the banks of the River Spey, where they are filled with the spirit that, in time, becomes the Macallan Litha.

The Macallan Lithe China Rouge bar and bartender
To celebrate the launch of The Macallan Litha, The Macallan hosted an exclusive media event at Galaxy Macau’s Shanghai-themed destination bar, China Rouge

As it matures, it develops a rich aroma and deep golden colour. On the nose, an appetising array of summery notes takes hold: there’s vanilla and butterscotch, accompanied with hints of bright tropical fruits suggestive of long, warm, days. The palate follows on with vanilla ice-cream, topped with berry compote, and balanced with warming wood spice and chocolate, as well as salted caramel and pecan nuts. The medium finish is redolent with vanilla, fruit and oak.

All in all, the Macallan Litha is a drink of unexpected complexity and nothing short of what one would expect from a whisky maker that has been synonymous with consummate creativity since its establishment in 1824.

Culinary versatility

The Macallan Litha whisky pairing experience
Suggestive of long, warm days, The Macallan Litha takes its name from the ancient Celtic word for the Summer Solstice

The delightful versatility of whisky as an accompaniment to Chinese cuisine was apparent to guests at the launch event for the Macallan Litha, held recently at Galaxy Macau’s Shanghai-themed destination bar, China Rouge.

After being served the Macallan Litha as a refreshing aperitif, guests enjoyed Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old paired with a platter of shrimp salad tart, roasted duck with caviar, hawthorn berry skin with foie gras mousse, and Sichuan-style Kurobuta pork.

A butterscotch-coloured Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old accompanied the two dishes that followed: fish maw soup prepared with preserved tangerine peel, and steamed grouper with clams and Jinhua ham.

The Macallan Classic Cut was paired with the highlight of the menu – braised Wagyu beef smothered in honey sauce over black truffle steamed rice – with the Macallan Litha forming the perfect coda to the meal as the accompaniment to the dessert course. Its summery notes were a delicious match for the osmanthus glutinous rice ball, wolfberry and osmanthus jelly, and sweet walnut pastry that rounded off the meal.

The Macallan Litha whisky pairing lunch
Guests in attendance indulged in a whisky pairing journey featuring four different labels by the legendary highland Scotch maker

China Rouge was an apt choice of venue for the Macallan Litha’s unveiling. With its brushstroke labelling – evocative of Chinese calligraphy – and sumptuous packaging created by Chinese illustrator Sija Hong, the Macallan Litha is sure to appeal to connoisseurs in one of whisky’s fastest growing markets, and one where younger consumers in particular are valuing whisky for its range of flavours and types.

About 47 percent of China’s whisky consumers are Gen Zers, 40 percent of whom are willing to spend upwards of 1,000 yuan on a bottle, according to a 2021 report from China’s Billion Bottle whisky information platform. China’s whisky drinkers also tend to be well-educated and reside in big cities: 69 percent of them have at least a bachelor’s degree and 54 percent live in first-tier metropolises.

Hong’s packaging design wonderfully expresses whisky’s ability to reach across cultures. According to the Macallan, the bold colours of the artwork represent “a pure moment of creation from the first meeting of two forces” and “the coming together of Scotland and Spain.” Scotland is depicted on the right-hand side in blue tones, Hong explains, while Spain is represented on the left-hand side in red. The tree meanwhile “is a central element representing the coming together of these two worlds through maturation in first fill sherry seasoned oak casks – a pure moment of creation.”

Cultural fusion, journey, lightness and versatility: few spirits are more suited to contemporary palettes than the Macallan Litha.

Savour The Macallan Litha at one of the upcoming whisky journeys curated by The Macallan:

28 September – The Macallan Litha Pairing Ambassador Dinner at one-Michelin-star Lai Heen
28 September to 27 October – The Macallan Litha Starred Pairing of 8-course Tasting Set Dinner at one-Michelin-star Lai Heen
12 and 13 October – The Macallan Litha ‧ Cocktail Party at The Macallan Whisky Bar & Lounge, Galaxy Macau
Through 15 October – The Macallan Litha Starred Pairing at Pang’s Kitchen, Galaxy Macau
Through 15 October – The Macallan Litha Starred Pairing at two-Michelin-star restaurant Feng Wei Ju, StarWorld Hotel

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