A wee dram of The Macallan for UAE

The Edrington Group promotes Single Malt brand The Macallan in UAE
The Edrington Group's Keith Bonnington introduces guests to The Macallan during a tasting at Dubai Marina Yacht Club.
The Edrington Group's Keith Bonnington introduces guests to The Macallan during a tasting at Dubai Marina Yacht Club.
Single Malt Scotch Whisky brand, The Macallan.
Single Malt Scotch Whisky brand, The Macallan.

Last month was an exciting one for the UAE’s whisky enthusiasts, as The Edrington Group — producer of celebrated Single Malt Scotch whisky brand The Macallan hosted an exclusive series of promotional dinners.

Edrington area director for Africa and the Middle East Keith Bonnington expanded: “I hosted some dinners in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where we introduced a Macallan whisky with every course.


“We were trying to complement each dish with the characters of the whisky but, more importantly, offer guests the chance to taste very different styles of malt over the course of an evening, rather than squeezing them into a tight time frame,” he explained.

“This gives the palate a chance to recover during courses and makes the whole experience more pleasurable.”

Bonnington added that he had also been in touch with bars in Dubai, to find out from bartenders what was working in their outlets and conduct brand training where required.

“The hotel sector in the Middle East continues to view premium spirits as the entry level to the liquor category,” he pointed out.

“Premium brands are highly sought after, by both visiting business people and residents, and our portfolio fits perfectly into this camp — particularly The Macallan.”

According to Bonnington, The Macallan is regarded by whisky experts as the "single malt against which all others must be judged".

“This is for a very good reason,” he added. “Firstly, it has long been associated with outstanding quality of raw materials from the days of Alexander Reid, James Davidson and Roderick Kemp in the mid- to late 19th century, to today's obsession with perfection in the art of Single Malt whisky making.

“A major part of this is our industry-leading oak management policy which ensures that, in the very long term, The Macallan will have an unrivalled selection of the finest European and American oak casks for maturing our whisky,” he continued.

“The great array of casks as our disposal allows us to fill every single bottle of The Macallan with no colour added whatsoever: the diverse range of colours in the range comes entirely from the interaction between spirit and wood.

“It is also worth noting that the oak cask is estimated to deliver around 70% of the flavour of the whisky — a sound rationale for ensuring that out wood policy is maintained,” he said.

Bonnington said he felt it was the right time to be promoting The Macallan in the Middle East, and that it was a region in which The Macallan sales could flourish.

”We have a product which is in such high demand the world over that we have to strategically place the brand in the right outlets — which means leading bars, clubs and restaurants, five star hotels and so forth,” he said.

“Fortunately, there is a high concentration of such outlets in the Middle East and a growing trend towards this style of venue in influential markets such as Lebanon.”


A customer asks a bartender to recommend him a beverage: how would you advise the bartender to ‘sell’ Macallan?

“The customer should be made aware that The Macallan stands for unrivalled quality, as the brand is the category leader in terms of the quality of cask in which the liquid is aged — in both European and American Oak, which each deliver different characteristics.

“Ask the customer to look for the clarity and depth of 100% natural colour in the bottle.

“Nose the whisky — gently inhale the complex, fruity, sweet aromas. Some of these aromas can be detected even before the spirit is filled into cask, as The Macallan starts with one of the richest, new-make distillates attributed to the very small copper pot stills.

“The more complex characters of deep, rich dried fruits, orange, dark chocolate, spice and vanilla come from the wood.”

— Keith Bonnington, area director for Africa and the Middle East, The Edrington Group

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