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In partnership with luxury perfume

The Macallan Interview - Roja Dove

The Macallan has worked in partnership with luxury perfumer Roja Dove, creating 'The Macallan Aroma Box' to help people better explore and understand the characteristics of The Macallan Sherry Oak and Fine Oak ranges. Here we find out what inspires the man behind the scents...

Tell us in your own words what you do.

I have spent my life trying to help people have a better understanding of scent – it being the most difficult of all the senses to articulate and the one we generally speak least about. This manifests in both my work as a creative perfumer or as one who helps the press.

Where do you draw your inspiration from when you create a new scent?

When I create a new scent I start with its name. My partner Peter and I sit in our garden drinking tea and think of names we like. I think scent should instil a profound emotional response in us – if it does not, the scent is bland or banal. The name helps me think how the scent needs to be. For example, Danger cannot be anything but rich and overtly sensual, whereas Unspoken suggests an effect that is the same as when you catch someone's eye. It is thrilling. Everything is understood without the need for a word to be exchanged.

How did you come to work with The Macallan?

I started talking to The Macallan about flavour and aromas and how, in my opinion, most whiskies are described in such a way that people are often not engaged. We spoke about me creating a series of 'fragrances' which would help people understand the basic concepts of volatility versus depth, immaturity vs maturity and cold vs warm, and then six blends which capture the intrinsic characteristics of The Sherry Oak and Fine Oak Macallan.
I love the fact that when people smell them they understand what they experience in the whiskies immediately and so become totally engaged and, I believe, gain an even greater appreciation of the whiskies themselves.

What are the similarities in whisky making and perfumery?

I would say the greatest similarities are the lengths we both go to obtain the best we can.

There is an inherent knowledge that only the best will do – for The Macallan that means having a barley which is uniquely their own, or spending enormous sums to have the best oak barrels to obtain specific effects which give them an inimitable signature. Whereas I use Jasmine from Grasse in the south of France which requires five million flowers picked before dawn to create a litre of oil, resulting in an oil which costs more than the price of gold bullion.

The other obvious similarity is that both The Macallan and I never hurry – a product is ready when it is ready. For The Macallan that might mean waiting thirty years, which is exactly how long the youngest sandalwood I would consider using will be.

Many newcomers to single malt whisky find the aroma and taste challenging. How do you feel the aroma oils you have blended for The Macallan will help people overcome this sensory challenge to appreciate The Macallan?
I believed firmly that for most people whisky is so volatile it is hard to smell the nuances. With a breadth of flavour as diverse as The Macallan's, I felt it essential that people could understand the basic characteristics available. I was shocked when I first met Bob Dalgarno, their Master of Spirit, and discovered that whisky can be rich and earthy, but also can be delicate and floral. I started creating this highly original tool, as I was determined that people would be able to understand the variety, diversity, and complexity which is The Macallan.

Do you have a favourite scent?

I have always loved perfume and wear my Semi-Bespoke No. V. I love how smoky and sensual it is. Everyone I know, knows me for it – it smells like me.
Do you have a favourite expression of The Macallan?

I love the floral aspect of Blend No. 12 in the aroma box. Which is an expression of one aspect of The Macallan American Fine Oak – I love it as it is unexpected and I hate predictability.

To find out more about the collaboration between Roja Dove and The Macallan, watch our film Roja Dove and The Macallan

The Macallan Residence

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Master Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno's face when asked if the social media team could have a decanter of #PeerlessSpirit https://t.co/etRpSIQKZC

25 May 16
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Marc Larminaux of #Lalique shares the design inspiration for the #PeerlessSpirit decanter https://t.co/aVPFcAZVco

24 May 16
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Today, we’re celebrating @WorldWhiskyDay, or as we call it ‘Saturday' https://t.co/5BPeBc6ik4

21 May 16
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We’re in Amsterdam for this week’s #TheToast. Over to Boudewijn Mesritz of @talesandspirits… HT @imperiacocktail https://t.co/adtvOsyASW

20 May 16
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We’re in Amsterdam for this week’s #TheToast. Over to Boudewijn Mesritz of @talesandspirits… HT @imperialcocktailbar https://t.co/ri3sZJVS8N

20 May 16
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All six decanters from The #Macallan in #Lalique Six Pillars Collection #whiskygoals https://t.co/VosjplPuX5

18 May 16
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At 65 years old, The #Macallan housed in the #PeerlessSpirit decanter is one of the oldest we have ever released https://t.co/s8Xfkjkvqi

17 May 16
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Here it is, #PeerlessSpirit, the final chapter in the story of The #Macallan in #Lalique Six Pillars Collection https://t.co/ES0DkNnqk0

16 May 16
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The final illustration from @chidywayne – a bold interpretation of Fine Oak 15 https://t.co/nqBNZZ6Uow

15 May 16
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Share your stories of Easter Elchies with us. #Macallan in #Lalique 62 years old was an homage to our spiritual home https://t.co/YawbcVKTI0

12 May 16
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The best looking 60 year old on #Speyside, all thanks to our copper stills #Lalique https://t.co/wkdE9J0MSH

11 May 16
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#Macallan in #Lalique 57 years old, testament to our belief in using only the finest cut of the final distillation https://t.co/pHMqLbrzsH

10 May 16
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Another incredible collection, this time from @tonightsdram over on Instagram - use #MyMacallan to tag your own https://t.co/vHTNJ8hwAk

09 May 16
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The greatest example of our obsession with natural colour, The #Macallan in #Lalique 55 years old https://t.co/7vgGFqcGsX

06 May 16
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Do any of our fans remember the release of The #Macallan in #Lalique 50 years old back in 2005? https://t.co/J2XqMtO3M8

04 May 16

Roja Dove

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