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In partnership with The Macallan
  1. Food & Drink
  2. Wine & Spirits
November 17, 2023

The Macallan Distil Your World Mexico Celebrates Day of the Dead

The new Distil Your World whisky encapsulates Mexico City's celebration of life, flavor and color.

By Alex Martin

The Day of the Dead festival, celebrated throughout Mexico on or around November 1, has become more than a tribute to late loved ones. It is now a vibrant celebration of Mexican culture, encapsulating its diverse cuisine, world-class art and artisanal craftsmanship as well as family values. From intimate street parties to the Mexico City parade, the Day of the Dead is a sensorial journey through a country with a strong sense of tradition.

It was the perfect time and place for The Macallan and the Roca brothers, owners of the three-Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca, to create the third edition in the Distil Your World series.

Following on from London and New York, Distil Your World Mexico is a unique single malt Scotch whisky created with a combination of expertise in whisky making, gastronomy and art. The Macallan’s whisky maker Diane Stuart and Joan Roca traveled to Mexico City to immerse themselves in its culture.

They spent time with the artisans that bring the Day of the Dead festival to life, including an artist who paints the Day of the Dead’s iconic Catrinas and a marigold grower whose beautiful flowers are central to the festival. They marveled at the city’s distinctive architecture and explored the pivotal role that nature plays within its culture.

[See also: The Macallan Partners with Prestigious Sherry Producer]

The Macallan Distil Your World Mexico label
The Macallan Distil Your World Mexico is bottled at 48% ABV / ©The Macallan

No statement, no limit

Stuart then returned to The Macallan Estate where she sought to capture the essence of the Day of the Dead in a unique single malt Scotch whisky.

As with other whiskies in the series, Distil Your World Mexico is a non-age statement whisky. That took the reins off for Stuart, who could choose from The Macallan’s entire cask inventory to build layer upon layer of flavors and bring her experiences in Mexico City to life.

The resulting creation, which is limited to just 2,500 bottles, is an exquisite single malt containing a wide range of ages from The Macallan’s highest quality Sherry-seasoned American and European oak casks.

The most prominent notes are of sugared Pan de Muerto bread and sweet pineapple. Pan de Muerto is a traditional sweet bread that is intrinsically tied to Day of the Dead festivities. Its circular appearance symbolizes the cycle of life and death and is usually baked with skull and crossbones on the top. Sweet pineapple comes from Stuart’s journey through Mexico City, where the scent of glazed pineapples often filled the air as she walked through food markets.

Pink flower design details
The presentation case includes vibrant design details inspired by Mexican culture / ©The Macallan

“For our Mexican consumers, a whisky that boasts tasting notes of Pan de Muerto, pineapple, and Cempasúchil (Mexican marigold) is extremely culturally meaningful,” Juan Barbato, The Macallan National Brand Ambassador for Mexico, said.

The whisky’s 100% natural color matches that of the vibrant marigold flower. The marigold is a cornerstone in Day of the Dead festivities, as it is believed that its distinct aroma attracts the souls that have passed and leads them to their loved ones.

Stuart said: “Mexico is full of passion and energy, and you can feel it from the moment you arrive. On the Day of the Dead, that escalates to create the most amazing atmosphere of excitement and celebration. This passion and energy is what we try to capture in Distil Your World Mexico. It was a fantastic opportunity to explore The Macallan’s inventory to find just the right flavors to reflect Mexico.”

Culinary creations

Distil Your World box
Distil Your World is created in partnership with El Celler de Can Roca / ©The Macallan

Similarly, Roca returned to his acclaimed restaurant in Girona, Spain, to devise a world-class tasting menu inspired by Mexican cuisine and the country’s joyful celebration of life, all paired with The Macallan’s signature expressions. The dishes include a Mexican-style pork mashed on The Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Old whisky.

Roca said: “This is a big celebration of the joy of being alive. You can smell it, see it in the colors, and in the food they are preparing. It is a unique opportunity to grasp the soul of a country and try to distil it into a gastronomic experience. This is our humble approach to something that is absolutely huge, because like always, food brings people together.”

Artisanal craftsmanship

The Macallan presentation case
The presentation case contains modern interpretations of Mexican artwork / ©The Macallan

Completing a trio of expertise, The Macallan commissioned Mexican illustrator Alfredo Ríos, who specializes in nature and traditional culture. Inside the striking white presentation box, Río has designed a piece of original art depicting a marigold flower embracing the bottle.

The guitar depicts the role that music plays in festivities, which provides a way of saying goodbye to loved ones. The vibrant pink lining represents one of the festival’s most prominent colors and acts as a symbol for joy and the celebration of life.

Their journey through Mexico was documented on film and adds to the innovative series where the Roca brothers and The Macallan explore iconic destinations around the world. It follows on from similar journeys through Scotland, London, Jerez and New York. As with the others, the short film will be available on The Macallan website and Amazon Prime from November 1.

Tasting notes

Color: Vibrant marigold, the flower that has become a national symbol for the festival.

Nose: Sugared pan de muerto bread, creamy vanilla and sweet pineapple sit alongside fragrant marigold flowers and a hint of fresh green coriander.

Palate: Intense sweetness with flavors of orange oil and chocolate Mexican mole with charred pineapple.

Finish: Sweet with a delicate note of charred coals. A whisky that stays with you.

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