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.
To get the Macallan-ball rolling we’re taking a look at the Estate Reserve from the 1824 Collection. Originally bottled for travel retail, Macallan simply list the Estate Reserve as ‘Heritage in a Glass’ – nothing more descriptive than that. A little Internet digging gets us this “…draws on casks selected for maximum intensity and depth of flavours, including some sherry-seasoned hogsheads.” A slight improvement, but I’m not really feeling the heritage frankly guys. So all we really have to go on here is the ABV or 45.7% and the fact that this bottle will set you back a shy under £200. Blimey.
Nose: A welcoming medley of older sherried aromas. Polish and leather are immediately pronounced and combine with orange peels, raisins, toffee apples and a big bowl of dried fruits. All the fruity elements feel especially spicy here – a combination of stem ginger and some steeped black tea. There’s honeycomb, beeswax and toffee keeping the sweetness going, and these mingle well with the spiced fruits and older polish notes. Very pleasant.
Taste: Good arrival which presents rich sherry as an opening and then moves quickly into the realms of spice once more. Orange becomes more dominant of the palate and is joined by chocolate, coffee beans and slightly burnt caramel. Ginger, clove and nutmeg come to the party and they bring some oak bitterness along with them. Quite woody, quite spicy.
Finish: Long, spicy still and slightly peppery. Oak astringency arrives at the very end.
A very high wood influence has turned the Macallan Estate reserve into quite the spicy little number. Those of you who prefer a spirit-led experience – this is most certainly not it – it’s woody and tannic. This said, the nose is excellent and offers a great integration of older sherried notes and cask-driven aromas. As to the price – it’s really not cheap and whilst it clearly has constituents which are well-aged, overall I’d probably be looking to spend £200 on something else.