It’s coffee time at The Macallan with the introduction of The Harmony Collection Inspired by Intense Arabica
If you have ever joined in an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, you would recognise the privilege to be part of a ritual that combines impeccable hospitality, a feast for the senses and an invitation to create or strengthen fellowship. It is a communal experience, in which hosts would prepare coffee beans that are native to the part of Ethiopia youʼre in.
If youʼre in the Eastern Highlands, it would be the Harrar or Sidamo. Those in the Southwest would use the Genika variety. The host first boils water in a jebena, a traditional black clay coffeepot. They take green coffee beans and clean them by placing them in a pan before placing it over a flame, stirring and shaking until the husks come off.
They then roast the beans, before grinding them with a wooden mortar and pestle. Finally, they place this freshly ground coffee into the jebena. The room would then be filled with the sweet, intoxicating aroma of the beans, as conversation flows as freely as coffee.
In most households, salted popcorn would be served alongside the brew. It’s an incredible pairing if youʼve never tried it ‒ salted popcorn with flavour profiles that contain robust coffee notes.
The Ethiopian coffee ceremony was what came to mind when The Macallan unveiled the second edition of The Harmony Collection, a limited annual release in which the brand introduces exciting new flavour profiles and expressions by giving new life to organic by-products.
This year, The Macallan introduces Inspired by Intense Arabica, made by a member of The Macallan’s Whisky Mastery team, whisky maker Steven Bremner. It is presented in an artfully created gift box made from repurposed and recycled materials. True to the ethos of The Harmony Collection, the packaging incorporates coffee bean husks, a by-product of coffee, that would otherwise have been discarded.
The red in the design reflects the rich red colour of the coffee fruit. The crema-coloured 44% ABV liquid on its own is a full-bodied, slightly sweet experience. The nose begins with hints of vanilla and cappuccino, before transiting into a strong, rich palate of Brazil nut, tiramisu and dark chocolate. The finish is sweet and balanced, leaving on the tongue notes of dark roast coffee.
In taste and in aroma, one is reminded of fresh, cool breezy mornings in the Eastern Ethiopian highlands of Harrar. This expression is a love letter to the world of coffee ‒ specifically the Ethiopian Arabica coffee bean, which Bremner specifically chose for its rich flavour.
He then carefully selected the American and European oak casks to achieve the distinctive notes of the liquid. Which brings us back to the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. While the Inspired by Intense Arabica is a good drink on its own, the flavour profile seems to prime the palate for pairing. The Macallan recommends pairing the Inspired by Intense Arabica with coffee.
Bremner recommends the robust, intense flavours of the Harrar and Guji coffee beans to pair with the Inspired by Intense Arabica expression to complement its dry fruitiness and winey characteristics. And for bites, might we recommend the salted popcorn?
(Images: The Macallan)