The Macallan

Review: The Macallan Classic Cut (2018)

I like Macallan.

Let me rephrase – I like whiskies from Macallan.  What I don’t care for is their pricing, which seems geared for the luxury collector instead the whisky drinker.  But, that’s a rant for another time.

So it was with great surprise that I saw this 2018 edition of The Macallan Classic Cut for about $100 on the shelf.  Given that their lovely 18-year-old is inching closer to the $300 mark, I know this NAS release is going to be comprised of mostly young whiskies.  And that’s not a bad thing.  It’s just something to be mindful of… setting expectations, so to speak.

Classic Cut is bottled at 51.2% ABV, a big jump from the 43% ABV of Macallan’s standard releases.  Only sherry-seasoned casks were used in this release.  Based on the color, my guess is most of those casks are refill sherry casks.

The nose features macerated orange, vanilla, and waxy malt, with a tinge of toasted oak. Gone are the dark, heavy sherry notes I equate with Macallan.  Instead, because of those young whiskies used in this bottling, the nose is more vibrant, as is the palate.  The high ABV delivers a burst of wonderful strawberry jam, orange peel, and vanilla.  A bit of spice develops about halfway through, as does a young malt note.  The medium-length finish leaves lingering notes of spiced fruit and spice.  No need for water here, as this Macallan is easily drinkable.

Macallan Classic Cut delivered almost exactly what I expected – a big, vibrant, fruity malt.   I was a bit surprised at the amount of citrus, but liked what I tasted.  I don’t expect to dissect this whisky in a Glencairn glass.  Where it lacks complexity, Classisc Cut makes up for it in delivery of flavor.  That said, I’d LOVE to taste a high proof Macallan with a little more age.  As far as what’s in the glass, I’d give this one a recommendation.  7.5/10


The Macallan Edition No. 1 Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review

Photo courtesy of The Macallan.

Photo courtesy of The Macallan.

The Macallan Edition No. 1 is the start of a new series from the distillery, with a new expression scheduled to be released annually.  Each edition will be “co-created with different partners” while “showcasing The Macallan’s mastery of wood.”

Edition 1 features a blend of single malts matured in 8 different styles and sizes of European and American oak casks.  As is the new norm for Macallan releases, this new series does not feature age statements.  This first expression in the series is bottled at an above average 48% abv and retails for $99.

Those different casks lend to a very rich, sherried nose one attributes to a Macallan whisky.  Dried fruits, spice, and vanilla dominate alongside sweet, honeyed malt.  Some of that malt is young, which provides a vibrancy in the nose.  Taste-wise, there’s a large toffee note right off the bat.  Sherried dried fruit follows and combined, everything comes across as a sort of Christmas fruit cake. Some spice (clove, nutmeg) makes itself known in the mid-palate.  With all this and the 48% abv, you’d think this was a “heavy” whisky.  On the contrary, like on the nose, these heavier notes are balanced with citrus and young malt.  The long, warm finish is spicy and sweet, with the latter provided honey and sherried fruit.

At $100 a bottle, Macallan is priced right for what’s in the bottle.  Is this worth $35 more than the 12? I think so.  It’s got more character for me than their standard 12-year-old expression, but only a bit.  I like what Macallan is doing with their blending of different casks.  It’s richer and more sherried than the 12.  Good stuff.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Edrington Americas.)

The Macallan 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Review

Macallan 12

The Macallan has built a reputation synonymous with luxury and quality.  Older expressions are some the most valued whiskies among collectors.  It’s a Highland distillery that is generally known as a sherry bomb.  That’s because, with the exception of their Fine Oak line, all their whisky is aged in sherry casks.  Macallan claims it imports most of the sherry casks coming out of Spain.  It’s clear they take their wood selection seriously.

Macallan’s Sherry Oak line ranges from the base 12-year-old expression all the way to a pricy 30-year-old single malt.  Again, all the whiskies here are aged exclusively in ex-sherry casks.  It’s a style of whisky I tend to enjoy.

On the nose, the sherry cask influence can’t be clearer.  There’s an initial blast of dried fruit and a sweet sherry note, followed by some malted grain and a little toffee.  Entry on the palate is all toffee and soft vanilla, over a bed of sherried fruit and spice.  There’s a welcome touch of smoke.  It’s not a peaty smoke, more a wood smoke.  Just a touch.  Mulled wine ends the experience in a rich, slightly dry finish.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting a classic sherried whisky, I would suggest you start with this Macallan 12-year-old or Glenfarclas 12-year-old.  Macallan is generally more readily available.  What we have here is a rich, fruit-sweet and slightly spicy Highland single malt.  It’s priced a little higher than a standard 12-year-old Scotch at about $60.  I’d love to see it slightly cheaper, but I do enjoy what’s in the bottle.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Edrington Americas.)