Macallan Edition No 2

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Distillery/Brand: Macallan | Region: Highland | ABV: 48.2% | Colour: Copper
Nose: 7.6 | Palate: 6.4 | Finish: 6.2 | Overall Score: 6.7

Review
I started off writing a long-winded opinion piece on how I feel about Macallan. But I chose not to. There’s no point. They’re a whisky that was once known as the Rolls Royce of whiskies. Now it’s more like a Toyota Prius, if you ask me.

I even had a wonderful distillery tour a few months ago where we tasted some really old, precious liquid and met with amazing people and so I find myself feeling just a little guilty about running them down.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to love this whisky. I am in love with the older stock. Anything bottled in the early 2000s was just stellar. But try getting your hands on that now. There aren’t enough gold doubloons in this world.

And the newer NAS stuff is just so predictable. It’s almost like I can see into the future when I open up a new release from them, especially Travel Retail, which is where I found this.

So here I am. Nosing this nicely packaged Macallan which has cool story behind it. Three Spanish chefs, the Roca Brothers, and Bob Dalgarno got together and created this whisky. I don’t know what role the brothers had in it but thats what the literature says.

Then there’s the casks. So many casks. Tevasa European Oak, Diego Martin European & American Oak, Jose Miguel Martin European Oak and Vasyma Oak. I’ll be honest this is the first time I’m hearing these names. I’m not a big fan of using so many casks to make one whisky. But I’m not Bob, so what do I know.

My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 48.2%

Nose: Blood oranges. Warm sherry. Vanilla. Bob does know how to create a nose, I’ll give him that. Red apples. Clove. Hint of oak. Gets drier over time. Dry fruits. Forest potpourri. Toffee. Cinnamon. Dry figs. A hint of cherries. This is a pretty damn good nose. What I would like to smell in a sherry-influenced whisky. 7.6

Palate: This is where my troubles start. Solid nose, so-so palate. WHY? Even though it has a nice texture it doesn’t work for me. Something acrid here. Oranges. Oak. Cinnamon. There’s something bitter. Red apples. Nutmeg. It’s not horrendous but I wish it was spectacular. 6.4

Finish: Black tea. Cinnamon. 6.2

Overall Comments: So there you have it. Like so many Macallans of late it makes some strong promises but fails to deliver.

Overall Score: 6.7

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Balvenie 17 Year Old Sherry Oak

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Distillery/Brand: Balvenie | Region: Speyside | ABV: 43% | Color: Copper
Nose: 24 | Taste: 23 | Finish: 23 | Balance: 23 | Rating: 93

Review
This particular expression has a special place in my heart for a number of reasons. It was my first serious purchase of a single malt. I remember looking at it sitting on the shelf at my duty free and thinking what is that insanely captivating bottle with that deep dark liquid inside of it?

I picked it off the shelf and, unlike what I do nowadays, I literally uncorked it the moment I got home. This was a number of years ago and I had no idea about sherry maturation or generally anything to do with single malts. All I knew was if something tasted this good then I was on the right path.

I’ve tasted a number of Balvenies down the road and they are one of the few extremely reliable distilleries when it comes to releasing top stuff. I like the different experimentations they have been up to also with different casks.

First launched in 2007 this 17 year old expression has been matured exclusively in first-fill Oloroso sherry casks. There is always the danger of the sherry overpowering the spirit when you do that, however, when you have master craftsmen at work that seldom happens.

My sample is from a brand new bottle (2012) and served at 43%

Nose: Vanilla. Nutmeg. Cinnamon. Fruit cake. Christmas cake. Raisins – the big dark kind. Clove. Dark plums. Berries. Sugarcane. Ginger. Oak. Cola. The nose is thick and quite syrupy. But not in a sickly way. It just makes you feel warm inside.

Palate: Chocolate. Oak. Cinnamon. Black pepper. Fruit cake. Maple syrup. Rose water. Tobacco leaf. Vanilla. Classic Oloroso flavors. Brilliantly put together.

Finish: Sweet. Vanilla. Maple syrup. Rose water.

One of the truly good whiskies of our time.

Rating: 93

Glenmorangie Finealta

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Distillery/Brand: Glenmorangie
Region: Highland
ABV: 46%
Colour: Full Gold

Nose: 22
Taste: 23
Finish: 22
Balance: 22

Review
There are few whiskies that you can seldom go wrong with and Glenmorangie is one of them. So when I picked out the increasingly rare Finealta off a friend’s shelf I already had fairly high expectations.

The nose is soft smoke with sherry undertones mixed in with vanilla and fruit drops. This is followed by a touch of honey and some crushed red grapes. Finally a handful of roasted chestnuts give the nose a nice layer of complexity.

The full bodied delivery is cinnamon spicy at first and then a nice caramel and treacle sweet next. The slightly smoky oak then weaves in quite expertly and brings with it a deft minty touch.

The medium dry finish is a very nice mix of minty leaves and oak shavings.

Rating : 89