Monday, September 10, 2012
New release - Macallan Gold
Macallan was founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid and is located on the Elchies estate, close to the village of Craigellachie, in the Speyside region of Scotland. The distillery was originally called Elchies and sits in an idyllic location on a hillside overlooking the River Spey. Macallan is currently owned by the Edrington Group and is one of the largest single malt distilleries in Scotland, with an annual production capacity of eight million litres. The range of single malts is extensive, covering domestic markets and the travel retail sector alike, and is third in total world sales for single malt behind only Glenfiddich and Glenlivet.
The Gold is constructed from a number of different ex-sherry casks, both first and second fill, and contains whisky of differing ages between nine and fifteen years old. The whisky is initially being launched in the Canadian and UK markets with others to follow shortly. It is designed as the 'entry level' whisky of the new range and is bottled at 40% ABV. It has a recommended retail price of £35.99. For the full story about the Macallan 1824 Series, details of the other bottlings in the range and where they are being released, click here to read our previous blog post about it.
Our tasting notes
The colour is a vibrant golden yellow (unsurprisingly) and the nose has a lovely immediate sweetness to it. There are initial aromas of brown sugar and malty cereals, which are accentuated by further aromas of vanilla, honey and sultanas. It smells very promising and the aromas are heightened by a top note of zesty lemon rind.
On the palate, this whisky has the sweetness from the nose and immediately there is plenty of vanilla. With time this becomes less pronounced as other characteristics appear, but becomes more reminiscent of vanilla custard or custard powder. There is also plenty of golden honey, along with some sultanas, malty cereals and a hint of cinnamon/nutmeg spice. These sweeter notes are complimented by other more delicate characteristics including some juicy fresh green apple and pear, plus a hint of something floral (this is hard to determine, but reminded us of something like honeysuckle or jasmine). The uplifting zesty lemon note is also never far away and adds a delicious tangy quality.
The finish is again initially sweet with plenty of honey and vanilla particularly, before turning drier with wood spice (especially cinnamon) which is stronger than on the nose or palate. There is also some citrus zest which adds depth, although this seems more orange-like than the lemon notes detected on the nose and palate.
What's the verdict?
Macallan have taken a bold step to release this new series and the Gold is an excellent starting point. As an 'entry level' whisky this is perfect - it offers enough interesting characteristics, balance, depth and complexity but without being too complicated. Macallan is well known for its richer, sweeter style of whiskies and the Gold offers these, but with a pleasant twist in the form of the uplifting zesty notes. The flavour profile and the price point make this a very good proposition, and we are sure that many whisky drinkers will agree with us.
Our tasting notes for the other whiskies in the 1824 Series - the Amber, Sienna and Ruby - will follow as and when they are due for release.