Macallan

Review: The Infamous 22 Year Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Infamous 22.jpg
ABV
50%
Aging
22 yrs
Recipe
100% Malted Barely
Producer Fountana Beverage (Richmond, BC)

This whisky nearly slipped me by, and likely many others - it didn't thanks to a dram I had with Davin De Kergommeaux who pointed it out. It is produced by Fountana Beverage, who also produce the wonderful Canadian Rockies 21. It is a blend of two of the most "notorious" single malt whiskies in Scotland - and if people knew that these two distilleries were Macallan and Highland Park (which they are!) they'd be jumping out of their chairs and lining up to pick this up for $100. That, and ex-sherry, 50%, no colouring, and non-chill filtered. Terrific - yes, indeed!


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

The nose is full of rich, slightly meaty sherry. Honey, dried apricot, fig, baking spices, wet earth, cacao, and a growing sense of rich caramel and bright fruit that seems to come with old sherry-matured whiskies. The palate is rich, full of malt, hay, dried apricot, mixed nuts, sherry, milk chocolate, slight honey, and warming spices. Quite tannic, but not overly so. There is rancio there, but you have to go looking for it – but the search is made easy with water. The finish is honeyed and spicy, with a touch of ashy smoke, malt, and tea cookies. A light earthy/vegetal note grows on the finish. It has almost a slight spicy/sulphury note to it, which I like – it’s not a bad sort of sulphur. Rich and big finish. The whole thing has a light thread of oaky bitterness which I quite like. Soft for 50%, too.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $108. But if you think about the age and what is inside? …


Review: The Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
~60%
Aging
100% Oloroso Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Macallan (Craigellachie, Scotland)

This whisky, unfortunately, has been discontinued. Many cried out for a cask strength Macallan, and this received very positive reviews. Bottled at natural colour, and without chill filtration. It seems a connoisseur’s dream! Matured exclusively in oloroso sherry casks. There were a few different batches of this, all at slightly different ABVs.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A (60.1%)

  • Bottling Code: L10 - 09 07 22 :27

  • Bottling Date: 2010

The nose is incredibly rich – intense sherry, rich toffee – but also, incredible malt underneath. In many of these sherry monsters it seems cask quite significantly over distillate – but here, the distillate is holding its own. Dried orange peel (as you see in some teas), milk chocolate, vanilla, raisins, and light spice – cloves and cinnamon – but not sharp, more softly present as in a spiced sauce of some kind.

The palate is full of spice, but in the middle is full of incredibly rich toffee and cinnamon before spiced butterscotch pudding and the lightest touch of malt takes hold in the long finish. I love the richness of the whisky, and it comes in quite spicy in feel as well, as might be expected from the heat. The oak gets a bit less with added water – it is densely present at full strength. The finish is a bit dry (though it does lighten up over time), but I always like that, and there’s also some vanilla which really shines through nicely in the finish. The toffee richness in the middle is incredibly impressive, I might add, once again, especially as the “middle” of sherry monsters often get lost. Undeniably Macallan, and very big.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, based on $120.


Review: The Macallan 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
43%
Aging
100% Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Macallan (Craigellachie, Scotland)

One of the most well known brands, the Macallan has been producing whiskies since 1824 – and, at least a few years ago (and perhaps still) was the third highest selling single malt brand in the world. It is often equated with luxury – if stereotypes hold, it might be the one drunk by lawyers and it was James Bond’s drink of choice. It has some of the smallest stills in Speyside, resulting in a heavy spirit coming off the stills into the barrels as there is less copper contact to strip away some of the heavy elements. The Macallan also uses two yeast strains in their fermentation, which is uncommon in Scotland where most distilleries only use one strain of yeast.

This particular whisky has been matured exclusively in sherry oak, which Macallan obtains from Jerez in spain where both the casks and the sherry seasoning are carefully controlled and selected. As far as I understand, this whisky (along with some of its older counterparts, which just had age statements) has been replaced in the Macallan range by the 1824 series (which includes Macallan Gold , Amber, Sienna, Ruby).


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

Nose: Fruity, with apples coming off at first, but also with a rich background of raisins, vanilla, honey, and dense, slightly earthy, oak. Some caramel develops, and more malt comes forward with some time.

Taste: Comes off fairly dry, and the flavour develops into a bit of a spicy flurry including lots of hints of the oxidized sherry character and honey. Malt is fairly present and this carries a decent amount of cereal (i.e. grain) flavours. It’s interesting how the sweetness develops – as it starts out, it doesn’t appear to be that sweet until the sweetness kicks in mid-palate, where it continues. I am a fan of a bit of a dry character – which this one does pretty well.

Finish: Some biscuity-notes (like oat cakes), honey, raisins, almonds, and some light applesauce and malt as well. All of this with a fairly significant oxidized sherry character as well. The taste, length, and feel are all quite nice.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $89.


Review: The Macallan Gold Single Malt Scotch Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Macallan Gold 1.jpg
ABV
40%
Aging
100% Sherry Casks
Recipe
100% Malted Barley
Distiller Macallan (Craigellachie, Scotland)

Macallan recently replaced their core range of products, which had age statements on them with a number of new whiskies focused on the “natural colour” of the whiskies, of which this whisky is the cheapest. Lots of stir has been created with these, as less information about the whisky is now presented on the label, and it allows the distillers to use casks that may not be quite old enough due to supply issues. With that said, some barrels mature faster than others, so it also enables the distilleries to take advantage of that. Generally, I don’t mind No-Age-Statement (NAS) releases, provided they are quality product – it keeps people away from the general age-is-better (not always) mentality, and enables more creativity.

However, sadly, many of these NAS whiskies provide very little information about what actually goes into them, which is very unfortunate, and it gives distilleries license to provide even less information about their product. I find difficult in finding what is actually good rather than just a nicely marketed with all these releases everywhere. Moreover, the first wave of NAS releases seemed better than a lot of new NAS releases we are getting these days, particularly from Scotland. This particular whisky has been matured exclusively in sherry oak, which Macallan obtains from Jerez in spain where both the casks and the sherry seasoning are carefully controlled and selected


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2013

Nose: That’s a lot of honey and malt on the nose! Honeycomb, and lighter honey rather than a powerful honey like manuka. Lemon zest, light vanilla, dried apricot, with a slight creaminess too. At times, there’s some odd bitter staleness that comes through as well, which detracts from this.

Taste: Lots of honey, as well, supported by some very nice barley. Honey, honey, honey – I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a whisky so full of it. The mouhtfeel is decent, as well – and the malt also just shines through this one as well. The sweetness level is light, and just about perfect for balance. Dried apricot is also lightly present, as well as dried apple, and the sherry casks are also quite present.

Finish: Some light spices come through – ginger and clove, almond, baked apple, a touch of oak, and a bit of dryness. The malt is lightly present as well, with accompanying light earthy notes and nuttiness. Tingly spices. Quite enduring with the maltiness and honey lasting for a good while.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $75.