Macallan Whisky Makers Edition

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Distillery/Brand: The Macallan | Region: Highland | ABV: 42.8% | Colour: Pale Gold
Nose: 22 | Taste: 21 | Finish: 22 | Balance: 21 | Rating: 86

Review
I drank this whisky for the first time with Mr Bob Dalgarno, Macallans’ famed whisky maker, when my whisky club hosted him not too long ago. He was a wonderful and pleasant guest and the whiskies weren’t too bad either.

The one thing that stuck with me as I interviewed him for my YouTube channel was essentially how hard his job is. To match color, taste and maintain consistency in all his whiskies without any caramel is quite an astounding feat.

Add to the fact that he started his career at Macallan as a warehouseman and then worked his way through every stage of whisky making – mashman, brewer, stillman, warehouse supervisor, operations manager – to finally join the panel which selects casks for bottling in 1994 you can be sure he has my respect.

Known as the Whisky Maker he set about creating this one-off NAS expression exclusively for travel retail. When asked about the curious 42.8% alcohol strength he told me that prior to January 1980 the standard bottling strength used to be 75 Imperial Proof before it was dropped to the current 40%. This is a homage to that era.

Using a combination of European sherry-oak balanced by American sherry & ex-bourbon this whisky has a number of ages in it but apparently none younger than 12. I will take his word on that. My sample is from a brand new bottle and served at 42.8%

Nose: Quite crisp. The sherry is quite sharp. Hops. A touch malty. Bitter chocolate. Milk chocolate. Hazelnut. Praline. Lots of oak. Gets earthy after a while. Jute bag. Barley. Then fruity. Orange peel. Red apple. Red grapes. Then spicy. Ginger. It’s not a bad nose. It started off nice and crisp but the slight maltiness threw me off a little. This could have been perfect. But it’s not. 22/25

Palate: When I first had a sip of this at our tasting I was floored. It tasted absolutely amazing. However, I’m now convinced that the mood and the setting had a huge part to play in that. Quite thin. Lots of oak. Cinnamon. Peppercorns. Almonds. Hazelnut. Bitter marmalade. Clove. Feels a little raw for some reason. It shouldn’t. But it does. 21/15

Finish: Long. Coffee. And that oak again. 22/25

Overall Comments: I’ll be honest. I liked it a lot better when it was Bob and myself sharing a drink. Not so much right now. Though, I must be honest. My friend and I pretty much killed this bottle while watching a horror movie at his house. Not sure if I liked the whisky too much or if I was just using it to take the edge off.

Probably the latter.

Rating: 86

The Macallan 12 Fine Oak

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Distillery/Brand: Macallan
Region: Highland
ABV: 40%
Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 22
Balance: 23

Review
This is what every Highland single malt should taste like. Delicate and sensitive as well as bold and courageous.

Incidentally this is one of the first single malts I had ever bought and I think it was the reason I fell in love. Familiar aromas of honey, vanilla and hints of coconut remind me of why I got into malting in the first place. Robust barley lightly dusted with brown sugar and then rubbed on bright green pears makes this nose possibly one of my all time favorites to come out of the Highlands.

The velvet delivery is almost perfect as it starts off honeyed followed by black pepper and cinnamon. Swish it around your mouth and you can discern the deftest of dark chocolate and a drop of citrus.

The medium to long finish is dry and quite oaky – I think that’s where the Fine Oak comes into it’s own – with a touch of nuts and an eyebrow raising stick of clove.

I have to admit; this malt makes me happy.

Rating: 92

The Macallan 12 Sherry Oak

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Distillery/Brand: Macallan
Region: Highland
ABV: 40%
Colour: Pale Gold

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

Review
There was a time when I remember wanting to drink only Sherry influenced whiskies and this expression was the reason why.

The nose is pretty much in perfect harmony. Big, fat, juicy, red grapes covered in sugar, sprinkled with black pepper, dipped in caramel and then dusted with dark chocolate are presented to you on a silver platter. A final nose brings out the beautiful wooden sherried oak that makes this nose what it is.

Like most Macallan’s I’ve tasted the liquid is pure velvet. Burnt toast with black pepper and tiny cloves is the first thing to greet you. This is followed by the unmistakable taste of charred orange rind. Finally the palate is wrapped in a swirl of caramel, jaggery and a hint of roasted nuts.

The lovely long finish with it’s dry clove and nuts feels quite mature for it’s twelve years.

Pour your self a dram, sit back and relax. It’s going to be a long night.

Rating: 91