Oh, man. I really don’t relish talking about Macallan much these days. It kinda feels like picking on a very weak bully, if that makes any sense. Macallan is more of a monolith than ever before, but at the same time it’s but a shadow of its former self. I find it increasingly difficult to reconcile the contemporary profile of the brand with those massively sherried, brooding old beauties from past decades. The lack of decent sherry butts plays its part, of course, but let’s also shoot the elephant in the room while we’re taking aim: the prices being levied against any Macallan that breaches that 18 year mark are bloody offensive. Marry that concern to the amorphous flavour profile that neither adequately reflects what Macallan has always been about, nor does it any favours, and…well…it’s hard to love this great old icon with the same zeal I did in earlier times.
So, as I said…I don’t really like discussing Macallan. Mama always said ‘if you can’t say anything nice…’ And you know where it goes from there.
Triple Cask. Three wood types. Okay. Nothing really innovative here, but I can’t lie: seeing the word ‘sherry’ on the label makes me grit my teeth. Because with Macallan, it rarely seems to stand in isolation. Inevitably these days, ‘sherry’ is being chased by the word ‘seasoned’. You know what that means, aye? Sherry Lite; just a suggestion of what we hope for in our Macallan, due to little real wood penetration (minds out of the gutter, kids!). And the resultant whisky here, even at 18 years, is about as exciting as a lukewarm bowl of Cream of Wheat porridge. Is it bad? Nah. But neither is it really good. Certainly not good enough to justify that nearly $350 price tag anyway. At $150 or $180? Maybe. Maybe.
Nose: A fairly pronounced spiciness, right out of the gates. But almost like cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa powder stirred into cream or custard. Still sorta floral and perfumed. Caramel cake with candied nuts. Lemon and honey. Spanakopita. Soft toasty notes.
Palate: Quite sweet and almost syrupy, despite its anemic body. Terry’s Chocolate Oranges. Cinnamon sticks. Hints of chomping on an unlit cigar. Just suggestions of mince pies. Slightly wine-y actually. And a bit flinty. Nose was more interesting than the palate, if I’m being honest.
Finish: Slightly tannic. More oak and vanilla than I hoped for at the back end. Shortish.
Thoughts: Credit where credit is due, though: there’s a decent balance struck here. And while 43% is better than 40%…46% would have been much more to my liking.