Tag Archive: Macallan

Macallan: Gold (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 40% ABV)

Visual: Deep burnished gold (Well that is good, otherwise it would be false advertising in the name)

Viscosity: Quite fast, thick streaks.

Nose: Honey. Stewed apricot. Vanilla. Thick. Custard. Slight alcohol tingle, but generally smooth. Pencil shavings. Light menthol. Fudge. Water makes lighter – slightly more alcohol and minty.

Body: Smooth. Some alcohol. Slightly light. Custard. Golden syrup. Oak. Water makes dried and stewed apricot mix. Vanilla toffee. Enough water removes alcohol edges. White grapes.

Finish: Oak. Wet wood. Alcohol air. Slight malt drinks. Water adds slight apricot. Slight golden syrup. Chocolate toffee and or those chocolate eclair sweets. Slight spicy raisins and rim. Slight grapes.

Conclusion: Why do so few whiskies live up to their aromas? Yep, that’s always a good start for a set of notes, isn’t it? Anyway, I’ve had this in the bars a few times, but always at or neat the end of a session – so never a good time to really analyse it. So, coming at it now, as I approached its aroma I was filled with hope.

The aroma is thick and filled with promise – stewed fruits, lots of smooth, sweet flavours. Not unusual but with a very appealing weight to it.

The main body? Well it has more alcohol roughness to it – not badly, just a kind of generic blended whisky kind of rough edge which needs a fair chunk of water to get rid of. Water is also needed to bring back the stewed fruits that the aroma promised. Now, water generally does help whisky, so this is not a huge deal, but you never get the thickness and weight the aroma promised.

Time helps as well. Bringing out spicier, sherry cask influenced notes in the finish. In fact the finish (with water) is probably the best part of the whisky. Here you get a robustness and range which the main body distinctly lacks.

Not to say that this is bad, just very average – you get expected sweetness, expected oak, some of the expected sherry influenced, but with a tad rougher edged than ideal. Ok, but considering the usual huge rep of Macallan, a bit of a mediocre delivery.

So, ok, but no great shakes.

Background: Its been bugging me for a while that I have not done notes for this before. As a replacement for the Macallan 10 year this seemed to me to be the whisky that really was at the heart of the no age statement whisky debate. It was the most well known whisky to run that path and, despite having tried a few times, I had never really examined it. So, I grabbed from mini from Independent Spirit to give it a proper going over. I had just seen Mike Bird vs Matt Riddle at Chaos wrestling – an utterly amazing match so I was in good spirits.

Macallan Fine Oak 12 Year

Macallan: Fine Oak 12 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 12 years: 40% ABV)

Visual: Clear gold.

Viscosity: Medium speed thick streaks.

Nose: Thick. Honey and caramel. Pencil shavings. Sulphur touch. Brown bread. Golden syrup cake. Water adds apples to the mix.

Body: Slick. Custard and toffee. Slight fire. Treacle tart. Oaken. Smoothes out over time. Chocolate notes. Water brings out apples and more toffee.

Finish: Malt chocolate. Heavily oaken. Fudge. Marmalade. Water adds apples and cinnamon and a touch of menthol.

Conclusion: You know, I think I may have been giving Macallan a bit of a short shift. I tried this a few years ago and found it unremarkable, but, with it vanishing I decided to give it a final goodbye and a tasting notes.

Taken neat it was pretty much as I had remembered – ok, sweet but slightly fiery and too oaken. I never had chance to try water last time I encountered it – It helps immensely. The entire thing softens, and while it still has the typical toffee heavy notes it also brings out soft apple notes. With that to work with what was initially a heavy and slightly simple whisky gets a bit of room to play.

While, with water, it is much better I still don’t quite get what it is that makes people give Macallan such a legendry status. It is very nice, and with water very balanced – but it seems to be a very good example of the base expectations for the region. Very well done but not beyond expected flavours.

There are a few flaws, even with water the finish feels a tad dry and musty. Overall though it is a very competent sweet and fruity whisky even if it is one that needs water to stand out. Not however a whisky that is so unique that I will overly miss it once it is gone.

Background: The fine oak series, what was Macallan’s American oak aged version of their whisky. I saw was as it has pretty much vanished now, but I managed to grab a miniature from Independent Spirit before they all completely vanished. So here we are. Drunk while listening to some Propagandhi: Supporting Caste – because punk and whisky go together like. Erm. Punk and whisky. I may not have mastered comparisons.

Macallan 12 Year

The Macallan: 12 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 12 Year: 40% ABV)

Visual: Burnished gold.

Viscosity: Quite fast thick streaks.

Nose: Vinous red grapes. Spotted dick. Oak and pencil shavings. Alcohol burn at the high end. Slight sour grapes. Cherry packed digestives to cherry strudel.

Body: White grapes. Smooth texture, though some alcohol weight. Orange liquore. Toffee. Sharp lime notes. Oak. Vanilla. Water smoothes to chocolate and caramel over raisins. Menthol late on.

Finish: Malt drinks. Oak. Light chocolate liquore. Waters makes chocolate and raisins and adds aniseed.

Conclusion: One last dance old…friend…I think. Yeah, probably an old friend, if not an overly close one. Yes, I am anthropomorphising a whisky. Then I drink it. This may say strange things about my mind.

It is not an old favourite. It is more that distinguished gentleman that, behind his flair, turns out to be a tad shallow, if still enjoyable company.

It is smooth, especially with a teaspoon of water. The flavours are a simple set of wine grapes, toffee and raisins with water. Pretty much similar but with more alcohol weight and orange liquore instead of raisins without water. There are other notes but the ones above are the biggies.

No real surprises for a Macallan, but class all the way and that does buy it a lot of grace. It just seeps in so easily, with water bringing on a menthol freshness to see the whisky out. It is like the epitome of a distinguished chatting whisky, You don’t want to spend ages examining it, but you do want to be aware of the quality while you are otherwise distracted.

So a friend, but not a favourite. I still very much enjoyed this last chance to revisit and review, but I look forwards to reviewing the ..well, still kind of new…range with expectation not sadness.

If you get the chance to say goodbye it is nice, but don’t drop large amounts on it I would say.

Background: In case of confusion this is the sherry oak version, but normally I would guess it goes without saying. Anyway, this little mini from Independent Spirit is one of a rapidly dying breed. Mcallan have switched to labelling their whisky by colour. Macallan Gold for example. A practise that right gets on my tits, because, you see, the bottle is clear. I can already see the colour. I would like to know something else about it. Anyway, so these year marked bottlings are going the way of the dodo. So I figured I’d best review the 12 year while it was still in my price range. I was going to listen to some music while reviewing this but ITunes updated and then fucked itself. Yes, I shouldn’t use ITunes I know. I have no idea why I still do. Anyway, on the upside I found out that holding crtl and shift as you launch ITunes puts it in a safe mode which let me launch and debug. So I thought I would share.

Macallan 10 Year (Scottish Speyside Single Malt Whisky: 10 Years: 40% ABV)

Visual: Deep rich gold, golden syrup like in nature.

Viscosity: A few fast forming steaks of great thickness.

Nose: Smooth syrup coated oak, brandy snaps. Raisins and plums. Rich and smooth. Planed wood. Essence of vanilla. Slightly more floral with water.

Body: Smooth, vanilla, malt drink. Water brings out large golden syrup and caramel, slight fruitiness.

Finish: Charring, milk chocolate, trace of the alcohol. Toffee at the back with water, as well as custard like elements.

Conclusion: A solid sweet dram, needs a touch of water to open up but the base has a solid nature that makes for a warming but not overly harsh drink.

Whilst Macallan and I don’t always see eye to eye on what makes a good whisky, this is a solid drink. Nothing you wouldn’t expect but rounds out well and with enough force.

A fine base whisky.

Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year Old (Speyside Single Malt Scottish Whisky: 10 Year Old: 40% ABV)

Visual: Quite pale light gold.

Viscosity: many many fast thin streaks.

Nose: Punch, planed wood and shavings. Wet ship hull. Very evident wood feel and light cream.

Body: Syrup, sweet, dry white bread. Light and shimmering. Barley and honeycomb. Very clear and unsullied. Light oak. Milk chocolate and coco. Slight light nut characteristics.

Finish: Slight bitter, dry wood. Burnt touches come in slowly. Glows in the mouth. Dry at the end. Sugared almonds.

Conclusion: A very pure interpretation of whisky, giving the natural sweet character full flow.

Whilst this may reduce the complexity it give the character of the spirit full reign and it is interesting to see the whisky spirit comparatively in the nude as it were. Though there are still enough beats to the whisky to keep it interesting.

Not exceptional, but interesting to try and decent sweet character. The bourbon wood expression is definitely more welcome than its standard Macallan 10 year cousin.

Not bad and a useful insight. Even in itself the higher bourbon oak character is enticing, and I would say that this is a fine mainstream whisky that can by appreciated by many different people with different views of the whisky world.

Macallan 1938 Gordon and Macphail bottling Speymalt series (Scottish Whisky: Speyside Single Malt: 65 Years Old: 41.4% ABV)

Disclaimer: Tasted at a whisky show, this was a comparatively short measure so the tasting note is similarly reduced as I did not get time to contemplate the full range. However I still felt it worth sharing my thoughts on these whiskys I would otherwise have been unable to experience.

Visual: Rich bronzed amber.

Viscosity: Insanely fast forming thick streaks.

Nose: Sweet grain and brown sugar. Distinct floral fields. Complex sugary delicacies. Sherried notes and rose petals.

Body: Oak filled main heavy booming flavour. In fact the aged mature oak is dominating throughout. Grapes and the slightest spices. Somewhat musty

Finish: Burnt wood and dry, surprisingly simple.

Conclusion: A brilliant nose on this Methuselah of a whisky. The nose is so rich and pleasant that the main body seems so very bland by comparison.

The oak is obvious and dominant and whilst impressive and feels very rounded on the mouth it does not expand out greatly into the complexity one would wish for.

Most definitely not worth the cost, but I must say it was an interesting trip through the ages and a reminder that age by itself does not make a fine whisky.

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