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.
Nose: Certainly a sweet and spicy opening - cinnamon swirls, allspice dusted choux buns, sponge cake and some ready rolled filo pastry. Skittles and wine gums provide additional saccharine enjoyment, and sit alongside burnt vanilla cream, tangerines and sunflower florals. Water reinforces the patisserie side of things with rich tea and custard cream biscuits – all we need now is a coffee break.
Taste: Apricots, peaches and light tropicals (mango) are defined, but at the same time tart. They are joined by a slab of chocolate cake, sponge fingers and vanilla cream. Lime zest and pepperiness develop alongside cream custard and dusty oak. Reduction adds some brightness and juiciness into the mix with pears and clementines pepped up with some stem ginger and chocolate fingers.
Finish: Medium in length with white and chilli pepper spicing and underlying earthiness.
Out of the bottle, this Macallan is a solid drop. But, once diluted it shines brighter with greater fruit expressiveness and more overall balance. That said, there’s a high price for this month's two SMWS Macallan's – quite substantially higher than other similarly aged indy ex-bourbon Macallans - which feels like you're paying a hefty premium purely for the distillery name.