The Macallan distillery was granted one of the earliest licenses to distil whisky in 1824 and at the same time Alexander Reid, a local farmer owning the Estate agreed to rent 8 acres of land to The Macallan distillery.

Edrington Group, the current owners of The Macallan gained ownership in 1999 after working closely with the previous owners for many years.

The Macallan is located in Craigellachie, Banffshire and has 9 wash and 18 spirit stills producing 8million litres of pure alcohol per year.

 
Photo with permission of Christian from Regensburg via Wikimedia Creative Commons License

More distillery info here, thanks to Malt Madness

 

 

Distillery Bottlings (OB)

Various

 

 

Macallan, 12y, 40% ABV

Sherry cask

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Colour: A nice rich amber.

Nose: Dark fruits, raisins, currants and some slight almond aroma

Palate: Smooth and creamy with an initial hit of marzipan and raisins. This tingles the front - middle of the tongue and although the finish is quite long and smooth, the tingle fades very quickly.

Overall impression: This really is a typically good sherried dram. Nothing like as powerful in flavour or strength as something like the A'Bunadh, but all those sherry elements are there in abundance.

 

   

 

Macallan Elegancia, 12y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Pictures are of the 1992 Elegancia, but otherwise same presentation

 

 

Nose: Dark fruits - raisins, a hint of plum, sherry, oak and even very slightly nutty.

Palate: No surprises, just as you would expect with those dark fruits and a mixture of sherry and oak. If anything, the 'feel' of this in the mouth is a little thin, but the flavour is all there. Not a very long finish, but slightly tingly on the middle of the tongue for a couple of seconds.

Overall Impression: A good sherry cask Macallan at a very reasonable price

 

   

 

Macallan Estate Oak, NAS, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

Duty Free bottling

For each bottle purchased Macallan will plant a tree on The Macallan Estate.

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Gold / light oak

Nose: Oak, slightly leafy, a hint of fruity rubber and faint but warm almond.

Palate: A creamy mouth-feel with a long tingle across the front to middle of the palate. The leafiness of the nose is evident, but in a creamy and totally un-pungent way, but this has more; almost, but not quite nutty and a fruitiness which is slightly reminiscent of apple pie served warm with cream.

Finish: Quite long

Overall Impression: I have said many times that I prefer the more sherried offerings from Macallan and this one is more akin to the Fine Oak range, but not entirely as it does have some traits which point it towards a sherry cask. Maybe a mix of the two styles with the emphasis on Fine Oak, but certainly a very pleasant dram which I would happily keep in my drinks cabinet.

 

   

 

Macallan Select Oak, NAS, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Almost amber

Nose: Leaf mould, rubber, oak and aromatic herbs

Palate: Smooth but a little watery (is this due to 40% not 43%? Maybe.)  Slightest hints of dark fruits, wood, nuts and something aromatic that I can't quite place.

Finish: Long and fruity, rather like a mixture of raspberry and orange.

Overall Impression: This is far from the first fill sherry monsters that Macallan gained fame and world renown from, but it's definitely more sherry than bourbon cask, although both are evident.

 

   

 

   

Macallan Royal Wedding, 46.8% ABV

Two casks distilled April 29th 1996 & April 29th 1999

Bottling to commemmorate the wedding of Prince William & Kate Middleton

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ Dram-atics live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich glowing amber with hints of copper and bronze

Nose: Rich aged oak, a little furniture polish, figs, plums, dark cherries and oil of orange with just the slightest hint of cloves. It's also quite floral in a rich sherry kind of way.

Palate: Initially rich and creamy with slightly dry, but quite heavy sherry. Then comes the wood and fruit followed by that oily orange and hints of dark chocolate. What I can only describe as floral cloves take the lead into the finish.

Finish: Long, again with some development of orange and a leaning towards finest cognac right at the end.

Overall Impression:
A very good whisky, obviously sherry cask(s) but with a floral lightness and complexity only associated with the very best casks.

 

   

 

  The Eighteens    

 

Macallan, 18y, 1979, 43% ABV

Older 'classic' label

Typical cost of this bottle; Now €€€€€

 
 

First tasting:

Nose: Sherry, old oak, prunes and cardomom seeds with a very slight hint of molasses thrown in.

Palate: My first impression was molasses! How unusual! There are dark fruity in there, also some very aged dark oak giving a long, very long, flavour. But my over-riding feeling is still one of very dark old rum, in a gentle kind of way.

Second tasting, same bottle at a later date:

Nose: Wonderfully rich raisins, sultanas, oak and a little hint of walnuts

Palate: smooth and creamy texture with a melody of oak, raisins and sweet English Christmas cake fighting for prominence.

Just 3 drops of water allow the raisins to win prominence as they now linger long and luxuriously on the tongue.

Overall Impression: I am tempted to say they don't make them like this anymore, but in fact, they do, thankfully!
A lovely rich typically sherried classic from Macallan

 

   

 

Macallan, Fine Oak, 18y, 43% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Colour: Pale yellow

Nose: Really quite pleasant with wood and some malt in there. Not a hint of sherry. After a while I am getting a hint of dry leafiness too.

Palate: Smooth but not so creamy. An initial flurry of wood and something slightly floral or herbal. This is also quite fresh. The finish on this one is longer than the 12y sherry.

Overall Impression: Not a bad dram, but far from a great. Let's say it's good, but not unforgettable. I am still trying not to refer to body and sherry, but if someone gave me this blind and said it was an 18y, then I may be quite disappointed. Somehow, I expect a little more from an 18y 'premium' dram. Not sherry, but just ...... more. In the way the Talisker 18y is far and away superior to the 10y. That same gulf is not apparent between the Mac 12 and 18.

 

   
 

Fine Oak or Sherry? The inevitable comparison:

OK, so I held off as long as I could. These are two different whiskies and they always will be. Macallan has built a reputation based upon their first-fill sherry policy and that is what they are good at. This 18y is not a bad whisky, but if this had been their initial direction, I doubt they would have achieved the same success as they did with the traditional sherry bottlings. This would just have been another 'good' whisky, as are so many others .... Balvenie, Dalwhinnie, Glenmorangie ... but it wouldn't have stood head and shoulders above the rest.

   

 

  Independent Bottlers    

 

Adelphi Macallan, 12y, 57.5% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€ to €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Dark amber

Nose: I'm back in my favourite Yorkshire Dales hiking pub with leather hiking boots and polished oak all around.

Palate: Smooth and rich with leather, oak, dark fruits and rich nuts, but it needs some water!

With 10 drops of water in about 2cl: Now it's a little more fruity (dark fruits - raisins, blackcurrant) with only hints of wood and leather.

With another 8 drops of water: Opening nicely now, dark fruit, some nuts and lots of tingle.

A further 4 drops of water enhance the fruit nicely.

Finish: Very long, rich and indicative of finest sherry cask!

Overall Impression: This is the second CS Adelphi bottling I have recently tried, the other was an HP and both are excellent. One constant with these is that they take water, plenty of it and improve with each addition. This particular bottling is an extremely good sherried one, I love it!

 

   

 

Wilson & Morgan 'Barrel Selection', Macallan, distilled 1989, bottled 2003, Port Finish, 46% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Spiegelau

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: Oak, opening after some seconds to include the faintest hint of banana, some leather and occasionally, just a whiff of smoke.

Palate: Smooth, but soon opening into an almost volcanic tingle which soon abates to leave a wonderful flavour of nuts, dark fruits and a little marzipan, with hints of raspberry and red wine fading only slowly.

Finish: Long, very long. Smooth and full of raspberry, red wine and right at the end the Port shines through.

Overall Impression: Another slightly different Macallan, but a glorious one indeed!

 

   
   

Douglas Laing Platinum Selection, Macallan, distilled 1975, 30y, 58% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Sherry, oats and malt

Palate: Light sherry. Definitely not a typical Macallan, but certainly a good one.

Overall Impression: As I mentioned, not typical as it was lighter than I would have expected, especially for a 30y version. But it certainly was good.

 

   

 

G&M 'Speymalt', Macallan, distilled 1985, 17y, 40% ABV

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Nose: Leather and soft rubber over a rather dry amontillado sherry.

Palate: Very smooth and quite fruity, but without any strong hints of sherry which for me, makes this a quite unusual Macallan.

Overall Impression: As I mentioned this is quite an unusual Macallan, but I do like it and find it really very interesting.

 

   

 

Van Wees 'The Ultimate', Macallan, distilled 1.5.75, bottled 6.94, 19y, 43% ABV

Cask 8347, bottle No. 233 of 340

Typical cost of this bottle; Originally €€€€€ but now €€€€€

"Dram-atics" live review

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Rich gold

Nose: This immediately has a very 'heady' nose with lots of hay and grass which are very fresh. With time the nose becomes even more intense.

Palate: Lots of spicy pepper but after some time it develops distinct pineapple with a touch of coconut.

With 3 drops of water: The nose is much more aromatic and also includes vanilla, but the palate loses almost all the tingly pepperiness.

Finish: Quite long.

Overall Impression: This is obviously a bourbon rather than sherry cask and is quite an unusual Macallan with the hay and grasses, then pineapple and coconut. A rather different, but very drinkable whisky.

 

   
   

Krόger's 'Schloί Whisky', Macallan-Glenlivet, 1989-1999, 56.5% ABV

Bottle No. 003 of 282

Typical cost of this bottle; €€€€€

 
 

Glass: Classic Malt

Colour: Pale (yellow) gold

Nose: Lots of vanilla with a faint suggestion of freshly cut wood and an exotic, albeit slightly bitter, fruitiness.

Palate: Creamy vanilla with great depth of flavour. Also nutty malt, perhaps quite biscuit-like but with an underlying fruitiness remiscent of summer berries.

With 5 drops of water: The vanilla of the nose has been replaced by much more woodiness which is also more prominent on the palate now. The palate is also even creamier and softer with enhanced fruit.

Finish: Long and fading only very slowly and offering a gentle suggestion of coconut right at the end. A little more spiciness with the water.

Overall Impression: Great flavours. This is a non-sherry cask Macallan and a very fine whisky, if only more Macallan non-sherried were like this!

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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