When visiting the Whisky show last year (2022), my biggest disappointment came at the huge and wonderful looking Macallan stand. The Edrington group really knows how to market their stuff. I tried two different 12yo’s and the 2022 rare cask. All quite underwhelming for me. I might be spoiled, since I have tasted a lot of Macallans from the glorious days of “Science can’t wholly explain…” I can’t even remember when I bought my last Macallan, I only remember is was probably a Sherried Wilson and Morgan bottling (not the fantastic the 12yo though), yet still an independent bottling of “The Mac”. Good and affordable (for a Macallan). Now this modern “Rich Cacao” found its way onto my lectern… a free sample with a bottle of Cognac. I don’t expect much to be honest, after the aforementioned London experience, but I do hope this will be a good one. Probably sold out already, no surprise there, and I see it already costs a pretty penny in the secondary market, yet not as much as the Macallan from the glorious days, even the pretty standard ones.
Color: Copper gold.
Nose: Clean, fresh, woody Sherry, mocha with hints of latex paint, toast and some over-ripe almost rotting fruit (a good thing here). Better than expected actually, way better. I’m not smelling it blind, but I would say that it is recognizable as a (modern) Macallan Spirit. Nice dry and soft oak nose. Elegant, yet also somewhat robust even since this has been reduced to 44% ABV. Sweet caramel and toffee. Give it some time (but not much) to breathe and the aroma coming out of my glass is big. Dry cocoa powder, cookies and clean, dry, Oloroso Sherry. Dry vanilla powder and cold custard come next. Dark chocolate mousse, slightly sugared. Perfumy and complex. After all those weak Macallans I have tried recently, finally an interesting expression again. At least in the smell. Let’s try it now for real.
Taste: Sweet, waxy and Sherried, likeable and fun. Soft sweet (not acidic) red fruit compote (warm). Yes, a bit thin, tastes like a 40% ABV bottling. Tasty, but this has nothing to do with the Macallans from the glorious Sherry bomb days. Not the same quality and definitely not the same ooomphhh. This is soft, refined, elegant and designed and still manages to pack a small punch of the white pepper kind and some spicy dry oak. Cute. Some sweet licorice and Sherry notes come next. Dark yet sweet chocolate. Otherwise fruity and likeable, with a dry finish.
Well this was a nice surprise, a decent Macallan. Tasty and fun, yet also not all that special. Nice and highly drinkable, but not good enough to warrant the amount of hard-earned cash you have to shell out for this particular bottling (if you plan to drink it). If you are collector, then please do. Nevertheless, with a name so big as The Macallan, I expected a bit more. Good yet not a must try Malt for me. I’ll will continue to keep oogling the Macallan from a distance for the time being.