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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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#Sneaker fans; our final obsessive is one for you, head to our Instagram to learn more https://t.co/LOhjAEgLu8 https://t.co/u3jbL5ikUV

27 Jun 16
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Calling all #Leica fans: Visit our Instagram to see the latest in our series on #Obsessions https://t.co/jGp1wverbZ https://t.co/4Jxm3bTbWB

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Good news: Whisky emoji has launched Bad news: It's not on your phone yet Good news: Will have to stick with the real thing for now

22 Jun 16
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Dads: Our suggested activity for you this #FathersDay https://t.co/FFNlfB8mLe

19 Jun 16
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As obsessed with #vinyl as you are with #whisky? You should check our Instagram this week https://t.co/V18mNfo1yT https://t.co/t7UV1xnFgF

16 Jun 16
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Cheers to Chef’s Choice Award winner, Joan Roca & the team at @CanRocaCeller, named in the #Worlds50Best Restaurants https://t.co/KL7myPwltN

14 Jun 16
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#FathersDay is just one week away. We asked our Head of Education @DarylHaldane what the day means to him https://t.co/OxQcgY6k4a

12 Jun 16
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Thanks to our fans who shared q's for Charlene Dawes. Make sure to check out her bar Angel's Share when in #HongKong https://t.co/4QItjGRrcP

10 Jun 16
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Macallan 12 YO Fine Oak is matured in sherry & bourbon casks - a great combination, perfect for beginners – CD https://t.co/0Xak7dSlII

10 Jun 16
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I'd suggest Macallan Estate Reserve. Deep flavours from sherry hogshead casks reminiscent of Sherry Oak 18 YO – CD https://t.co/u3W0HQi9pJ

10 Jun 16
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I started drinking whisky, then collecting, visited Scotland twice & learned the history behind each distillery - CD https://t.co/lnaSjcst32

09 Jun 16
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I'd suggest Macallan 12 Sherry Oak, 18 SO, then a 15 Fine Oak. You can compare the influence of each cask & age – CD https://t.co/J2dDuWSKyc

08 Jun 16
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#Whisky obsessive Charlene Dawes is here to answer your questions this week. Tag your q's #AskCharlene https://t.co/zineWtIY6v

06 Jun 16
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Want to learn more about #whisky? Charlene Dawes went from whisky fan to bar owner. Tweet your q's to #AskCharlene https://t.co/fqKuvzgNC5

04 Jun 16
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We’re in Tel Aviv for this week’s #TheToast. Bar Shira from @imperialcocktailbar shows us his ‘Stormy Old Fashioned' https://t.co/QXW43pDKFq

03 Jun 16
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The incredible whisky collections just keep on coming. Here's one from @tdm.be on Instagram #Obsessions https://t.co/L9oBXqIpLL

02 Jun 16
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#PeerlessSpirit is officially unveiled in Hong Kong tonight. Here's a sneak peak inside the event https://t.co/odO9YXZXRp

01 Jun 16
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Artist @chidywayne turns his skill to capturing #PeerlessSpirit - what do you think? https://t.co/2w1jiNdiE1

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