‘This is the quintessential Speyside whisky’, I was told as I bought it. ‘You can’t go wrong with it.’ So with some anticipation, I parted with £25 of the government’s money (I am a student, after all) and proceeded to power-walk back home, box in hand. And what a box – bronze and gold really does give it a certain magisterial authority.
There isn’t space to adequately describe what Macallan have done here; that’ll come in a different post. Aside from lots of other methods, the whisky ha s been stored in Oak Sherry Casks from Jerez, Spain. And, as we’ve been banging on about in almost every review, the cask is what gives the whisky its character.
It exudes a quite glorious nose of dried apricots, slightly spiced and honeyed. Throughout, sweetened toffee lingers and harmonises with rich sherry notes. The whole thing is quite extraordinarily rounded, but without feeling the need to shout and scream.
As with the nose, so with the taste. The fruits are once again prominent but sherry-soaked wood permeates through delightfully, creating a gently spicy, smoky feel that never overpowers the fruit notes (which need to persist if the Macallan is to convince as a strong whisky). It’s not trying to be too bold, too brave or too adventurous. Whilst I love whiskies that displays multi-dimensionality, there is something so ingeniously simple about the Macallan that makes it rather noble.
Its finish is similarly as strong as the nose and palate – all the elements roll into one smooth and persistent sensation that harmonise excellently. It’s a quite lovely whisky, and one that ought to be tried by everyone. A short review, yes, but sometimes mere words don’t do a fine whisky justice.
Nose 21 Taste 22 Finish 21 Balance 23