Food + drink

Interview with Nick Savage, Master Distiller at The Macallan

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Every whisky’s success depends on the quality of the new make spirit. This is the result after distillation and just before the spirit is placed in oak casks to  age. A master distiller’s role is important in ensuring that the spirit has the right conditions to mature and the resulting whisky represents the distillery’s optimal quality.

The Active Age met with Nick Savage, Master Distiller at The Macallan, to hear first-hand about his experiences guiding and shaping the Macallan journey.

The Active Age (AA): How did you get started on your whisky journey?
Nick Savage (NS): I started in 2007 working 100% on casks science, and looking into the angels share from a structural engineering perspective rather than a traditional chemistry approach. I enjoyed whisky before I started in the industry, but once I started, I was able to gain a real appreciation for everything and all the individual skills and expertise that go into making Scotch and the resultant experiences you can have enjoying whisky.

AA: Any anecdotes about your apprenticeship or time spent building up expertise with whisky?
NS: Many, and working with the coopers in the cooperage environment was and is still one of my favourite places in the world! Fire, the smell of toasted wood and whisky, solid iron hammers with a loud rock n roll soundtrack in the background…. What’s not to love!

AA: Do you have a favourite story to share about making any of the The Macallan’s classic trilogy range?
NS: I remember my first day at The Macallan and the team had arranged a welcome dinner in the evening at Easter Elchies House on the estate. I was somewhat taken back by the scale and quality of Macallan during the day and it was becoming clear what I’d signed up for! I’d had Macallan before joining, but never in much detail, and I’ll always remember the first drink at EEH being FO12 and I was blown away and thought to myself “you’ve made a brilliant decision to join Nick!!”

AA: And to end, what food pairing would you do with the The Macallan Edition No. 3?
NS: Given the strong presence of Orange characteristics combined with spices and overall character being fragrant, I find a dark chocolate works well, and even better if the chocolate comes straight from the fridge!!

 

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