Macallan's 'Edition Series' is marketed as an annual release designed to highlight both the distillery's use of a wide range of different cask types, as well as cross-industry partnerships with leading figures from the world of food and drinks. Edition No.1 oddly didn't highlight any particular collaboration, but Edition No.2 certainly makes sure we're aware of what's going on with some pretty heavy marketing. For this bottling, Macallan's Master Blender Bob Delgarno spent some time with the three Roca Brothers who run the famous El Cellar de Can Roca in Catalonia.
Today has a real Macallan focus to it. This evening I’m attending an SMWS + Macallan event where the Society will be presenting one of its oldest bottlings (it had to purchase it back from auction – ouch!) alongside it newest in the form of the controversial SMWS Vaults Collection. I’ll get back to you early next week with some musings on all this. The Macallan-fest continues into the weekend with the Whisky Show in London where the Edition No.3 is firmly in my sights, but likewise the distillery is bringing along a raft of its standard and rare expressions to present to a very eager crowd.
“What’s this? A review of Macallan Genesis?! What type of witchcraft are you practicing here? This bottle is for selling – it’ll earn you the price of second hand family car. It’s what? <gasp>. It’s open?! But, it’s for collectors to lovingly gaze at, safe in the knowledge that they own a consumer good deemed too valuable to actually consume. What do you mean he’s shared it out with all his mates? Do any of you know how much it was worth?” See, it turns out that ‘worth’ can be a very mutable concept, and when it comes to whisky, there are moments which fill my heart with the generosity that still exists across our community. It’s not what got me ‘in to’ whisky. But, it’s arguably what keeps me here.
When you visit Macallan’s website and check out the listing for their 18 year old, you’re greeted with a somewhat sparse page simply describing the bottle as ‘the iconic Macallan’ – nothing more, nothing less. To some, this may seem like a slightly courageous marketing move – surely there’s more to say about the whisky than this? No long-winded description? No barely believable back-story? Not even a hint of a golden eagle flying over the distillery? The reality of the Macallan 18 year old is that nowadays it has such cache (amongst certain profiles of whisky drinkers) that it pretty much sells itself.
Whilst I didn’t attend any Burn’s suppers last night, it seemed only right and proper to raise a toast to the poet all the same. I’m buying a lot more miniatures and samples these days – least of all, it’s a much more affordable method of exploring older or more prestigious bottlings – so I tucked into my small stash for something suitably worthy of the occasion and pulled out an older bottling of Macallan. It turned out that this seemingly innocuous 12 year old was going to be the most complicated whisky I’d have tried in many a months.
We’ll end the week with a little dig into The Dramble’s archives of dearly departed oddities – plucking out this 1987 Sherry Wood Macallan. Nowadays, sherry and Macallan are nigh on synonymous, however many official sherried bottlings (particularly those of an older age) now come with hefty price tags attached – such is world of one of the most recognisable, but collectible of single malts. But, fear not malt enthusiasts for once again independent bottlers have your corner, offering a wide variety of Macallans at prices which generally don’t require a second mortgage.
Another bottle from the procession of 10 year old Macallan’s that were vatted together then re-racked into a selection of different casks for some additional maturation. This month’s listed as a 1st ex-oloroso hogshead and regardless is guaranteed to sell out on impact no matter the profile or quality.
Macallan sans-sherry. This example being a 16 year old from a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel, and a UK Society venue exclusive. Sweet & Spicy profile.
There’s been considerable change at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society over the past 12 months. Last week, the Society announced that, following member feedback, the ‘sample subscriber’ category (whereby non-members could purchase the Society’s bottles for a 30% surcharge) has been revoked. Cue dissatisfaction across the social web. Hark back to when the Society introduced said category and you might remember a similar level of grousing. Sometimes you have to wonder if the SMWS is damned whatever the do.
30 year old Macallan that’s was laid down in October 1988 and matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel. Interestingly categorised as Spicy & Sweet rather than Old & Dignified. It was priced at £995 at launch, which on the one hand might seem steep for a non-sherry cask Macallan. But, if you take a look around at the price of other IB Macallans of a similar age, you’ll find that most are clocking in at 50% - 100% more expensive.
The penultimate day of the Boutique-y Advent calendar brings out a well-aged Macallan for our delectations. Batch 10 of Boutique-y’s ongoing ‘curious’ exploration of the Speyside distillery comes in at 48.7% ABV, and has a lighter hue than most of the previous Boutique-y Macallan batches I’ve seen over the past couple of years, suggesting that we might not be heading down the enormously sherried style the distillery is famous for.
I do love when my post-box has something more exciting in it than bank statements or takeaway menus, so a recent care parcel of samples from knowledgeable whisky lover Alistair Mateer (@SpiritAndWood) more than brightened up my day. Included in the delivery was the The Maltman Secret Speyside 14 year – a whisky Alastair said “rocked his world” – effusive praise from Alastair always gets my attention, so this has quickly been parachuted into The Dramble’s tasting schedule for an immediate test drive.