Monday, 23 September 2013

The Macallan Tweet Tasting

The Macallan 1824 Series Tweet Tasting
This was the official Tweet Tasting launch of the 1824 series of Single Malts from The Macallan. Four new expressions based upon colours with no age statement replacing the current 10, 12 and 15 year old single malts. I was really pleased to get the opportunity to taste these again, as although I was at the UK launch when brand ambassador Joy Elliot introduced them at April's Midlands Whisky Show I really wanted to revisit these.

The package from The Macallan was one of the best I've known in the Tweet Tasting series and had enquiries from enthusiasts the moment I posted a photo of the set on Twitter. I've since seen these sets on auction sites fetching incredible values. Mine is now fully emptied and safely stashed away, although open to offers!
The Macallan Tweet Tasting
The Macallan's whisky maker, Bob Delgarno has created each of the expressions by identifying the natural colours created during maturation in the different cask types and putting them together to create the character of each of the colours. As you progress up the range the whiskies, the colour becomes richer and the flavours more intense. 

All of these expressions are naturally coloured, no E150 has been added to achieve them, it has all been achieve by cask selection, which just shows what can be achieved by careful cask management.

Whisky Discovery #391

The Macallan Gold NAS (40% abv)
Speyside Single Malt
circa £35.00 70cl
The Macallan Gold was released in late 2012, in fact I think it was first seen at The Midlands Whisky Festival last September. This is the entry level single malt of a series of colour-themed bottlings introduced to replace the distillery's age-statement expressions. Gold has been produced from 9 to 15 Year Old first fill and refill sherry casks and replaces the now obsolete 10 Year Old Sherry Oak and 10 Year Old Fine Oak expressions.

So What Did I Think?
Nose: This opens with lots of vanilla and lemon notes. Sultanas and honeydew melon are in the mix with a light linseed oil note too. After a short while in the glass sweet wood notes develop which were almost apple wood like to me. A drop of water really brings out the fruit; sultanas and raisins in a cake mix.

Taste: Smooth, creamy vanilla and some spicy ginger adding to the candied lemon peel and boiled sweets.

Finish: There's a good shake of pepper leaving the tongue and roof of the mouth tingling for a short while leaving the taste of sultanas behind while turning dry with the oaky tannins

What did the others think?
@mattveira: Fresh nose. Big hit of lemon citrus, then orange peel & soft sweetness of sorts. This sweetness doesn't eliminate the zest.
@WorldWhisky: Fresh and fruity nose. Summer in the glass! Citrus, apple, some acacia honey
@steveprentice: On the palate it retains the lightness that you found on the nose, it's easy on the palate, smooth and easy drinking. A little youthful tasting with summery grass notes alongside oaks and chocolate sprinkles. There's a pinch of spices, also green apples and other autumn fruits at the tail end.
@mynameisgone: Palate getting some chocolate mingling with the fruits now, still loving that dash of pepper that comes through.
@dvdbloke: Palate - Smooth and clean. More fruit on the palate than in the nose. Some Vanilla, apples, pineapple, with a peppery development. Very light and easy to drink.
@DramStats: Palate: Sweet early with fig rolls and milk chocolate, caramac bar and sultanas before it gets a little spicy

Whisky Discovery #392

The Macallan Amber NAS (40% abv)
Speyside Single Malt
circa £45.00 70cl
Next in the 1824 series range is Amber which again has been matured in a mixture of first fill/refill sherry casks but with a higher proportion of European Sherry Oak in the make up. 

So What Did I Think?
Nose: Slightly richer than the nose of 'Gold' with the citrus notes becoming more orange like. There's a late summer meadow floral quality initially which richens with fruits, apples and sultanas complimenting the orange notes. As the nose develops in the glass vanilla pushes through with creamy toffee.

Taste: This is very smooth and creamy. Whilst opening with a gentle sweetness, soft pepper and ginger spices build, before fruit takes over with stewed apples, sultanas and raisins. The palate comes across as more 'rounded' than the Gold.

Finish: A fruity sweetness at first, more of those sultanas, this turns quite dry at the very end. Very drinkable

What did the others think?
@dvdbloke: Nose. similar, but more fruitier a nose than the gold. Apple, pineapple, lemons all up front.
@DramStats: Amber Nose: Vanilla, sherry soaked sultana, orange oil, lemon balm and freshly chopped braeburn apples
@ChrisWhiskyman: Hints of polished wood, raisin, sultana and a touch of grass
@whiskywardrobe: Nose is more Macallan; sultanas, oranges, wood and honey. Impressive!
@TheWhiskyWire: mmmmm toffee apples & lemon citron tart.
@abbeywhisky: Tropical fruits and toffee coming through the warmer the whisky gets... More vanilla, hints of almond

Whisky Discovery #393

The Macallan Sienna NAS (43% abv)
Speyside Single Malt
circa £66.00 70cl
Sienna follows Amber both in depth of colour and price. The alcohol content has been increased to 43% abv too. Sienna has been matured in first fill only sherry casks. Containing older matured spirit that the first two expressions, and produced in smaller batches.

So What Did I Think?
Nose: A much heavier sherry influence immediately apparent, then overripe pineapple and orange oil, spicy too with cloves and cinnamon while vanilla trys to push through the cream sherry notes of raisins and dates. There is a 'dusty book' note to this too. With a little air polished wood is picked up

Taste: Rich and creamy, the sweet oloroso sherry notes coming through with figs, dates, dark chocolate and some cloves, white pepper builds around the periphery of this rich and creamy 'experience'. It finishes with more Oloroso Dulce notes making my mouth water yet at the same time the back of the tongue is drying. The finish is longer and the dryness has a sherbet edge

What did the others think?
@whiskywardrobe: Figs? Raisins? Orange zest? Spices? Awesome? Aye!
@ChrisWhiskyman: Touch of baked apple but a fresher edge. Hints church incense and violets
@whisky_facile: Clear red fruits, and very creamy: toffee, banoffee pie!, tarte tatin. A bit of pipe tobacco and nuts
@dvdbloke: Time gives some polished mahogany, leather, some tobacco. Its a beauty alright, chocolate orange. Scrumptious.
@TonyWTC: Smooth and luxurious. Wood spice kicks in and takes it through to the end
@steveprentice: On the palate this dram is still silky smooth, medium oils in your mouth with just a sprinkling more of spice, mostly due to the slight hike in ABV, which is a welcome thing (although still quite low for the price point). Hold it on your tongue and the spices dissipate leaving the buttery creaminess that you found on the nose, it's rich plum pudding with a small dollop of vanilla ice-cream that's all melted down.

Whisky Discovery #394

The Macallan Ruby NAS (43% abv)
Speyside Single Malt
circa £118.00 70cl
Matured in only the finest first fill Sherry casks, and containing the oldest spirit in the 1824 Series Ruby is the darkest and most expensive of the new range.

So What Did I Think?
Nose: Again starts dusty, Oloroso sherry is evident but not as sweet as Sienna. Rich dried fruits, notably figs and candied peels, spiced with cloves, and notes of tobacco with a trace of menthol.

Taste: Starts sweet and quite gentle, spices build, with pepper and ginger, all the time getting richer and darker. Cloves take over as it gets richer then the wood notes start to come through, old polished wood. The finish is long lasting reflecting many of the flavours experienced with the polished wood notes staying to the very end.

What did the others think?
@DramStats: This is what good first fill oloroso is all about
@FrazerJ: Nose rich fruit, slight nutty-esque.. /maybe coffee/coca edge? nose is best so far for me.
@whiskywardrobe: For me this one isn't so sherried... brown sugar, oranges, spices, cinnamon and woody
@BeckyPaskin: Taste: Figs, caramel, rich fruit cake, tobacco, cinnamon. Yum.
@caskfinishcom: Palate Ruby starts with a sweet and gentle taste with pepper and ginger getting richer and rich together with the citrus
@steveprentice: On the palate there's an instant hit of oak that quickly subsides into fizzy fruitiness, late autumn to winter fruitcake type notes; hedgerow fruits stewed for pudding with lashings of vanilla custard.The oak then returns on the finish, which is long and brooding, a full and frank fruity mixture that I love

My favourite of the four expressions when I first tasted these in April was Sienna and revisiting these again during this tweet tasting affirmed my earlier decision. Whilst all four are exceptional quality whiskies the balance of Sienna certainly appeals to my palate more than the other three, and is the most likely addition to my Whisky shelf later this year. 

If was was going to pick a second bottle it would be Amber, a very drinkable dram without breaking the budget. I really struggle to justify spending over £100 on a bottle of Whisky.

And finally....
As per previous Tweet Tastings there was a great deal of tweeting going on and to see what happened search on the #TheMacallan1824 hashtag on twitter for the full story. Ok so no new discoveries but an opportunity to revisit four new expressions and write some proper notes down.

A massive THANK YOU to Steve Rush at @TheWhiskyWire, Brand Ambassador Joy Elliott and all the team at @The_Macallan and of course the tweet tasters who were:

@TheWhiskyWire @WhiskyDiscovery @KirstyPryde1 @sjjgo @BeckyPaskin @LRWhisky @rodbodtoo @dvdbloke @steveprentice @TonyWTC @abbeywhisky @mattveira @simon_m_field @bumpythechemist @FrazerJ @mynameisgone @ChrisWhiskyman @rlemkin @dramstats @hoftj @whisky_facile @worldwhisky @caskfinishcom @whiskywardrobe

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