I’ll admit that I have a bit of a sample issue. In that, I have so many samples that my diamond studded mansion has trouble housing them all.
Get it? Because it’s a first world problem and I feel guilty mentioning it!
What having too many samples and too much respect for my liver does is I miss out on new releases. Add to that I live in the whisky dessert of Canada, and I do miss some of them.
Enter the Macallan Edition series. Something that is so up my alley you’d think I was a city where it lives.
The idea? After years of hearing people ask for a higher end Macallan, the company was able to release one. These are limited runs. They are not cask strength, however, they are not “accountant strength” either (40%). They use a limited amount of casks, picking some of the higher end ones to make these. And in some cases, they bring in a special guest to help make the whisky.
Overall it tickles my fancy. Finally, I was able to obtain a sample of all 3 releases.
Wait, what do you mean that Edition No. 4 is being released soon? Dammit.
Well, I tried.
So before Edition No. 4 comes out, here’s my review of the other three editions.
Macallan Edition No. 1 is up first. This release is meant to celebrate the cask management policy of Macallan. Macallan is quite proud of their policy, seeing the casks from tree to final seasoned cask.
Thus either of the finest European and American oak casks of varying styles and sizes, all sherry-seasoned and with different ages until the whisky does what they want were vatted together. The person selecting these casks? The master whisky maker for Macallan, Bob Dalgarno
So let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Price: No longer available
Colour: 10YR 4/8
Nose: Brown sugar, violets, nectarine, orange blossom, sweet tea
Initial nose is quite unique among Macallans. Lots of floral and orange notes, different than a rich cherry or strawberry or even big vanilla notes.
If I had to guess, and I guess I have to since the main website didn’t say, I’d say the sherry used was Amontillado. Or Oloroso with some unique traits.
Taste: Cinnamon, caramel, passionfruit, floral, cocoa, coffee
Closer to a standard profile, in this case, there are spice and more fruit to the mix now. Less sweet than the nose. Or less tannic, more earthy.
The floral note here needs to take a bit of a break. It’s not complex enough to be okay
Finish: Floral, orange juice, ginger, black pepper, dried fruit
Hot finish. Very hot. Took some time to balance out, and pick out aspects. Eventually, the heat becomes part of it.
Too much ginger. It’s like being a white guy and trying Indian food for the first time: You’re just not used to the number of spices. Yet in this case, I’d more so say the floral part is what’s throwing me off.
Conclusion: Overall too floral, and the finish is too hot. Like this was a first step. They’re doing something different.
Or maybe they had these eight casks, and they didn’t mesh with the standard. But they oddly meshed with one another. So either they sell them off, potentially to someone else to make this, or they make it themselves.
Frankly, it’s good they did. Some of it could have been better. Some could have sat longer. But maybe it couldn’t.
Macallan Edition No. 2 changes things up. Before we had the master whisky maker picking eight casks.
Now we have the master whisky maker working with the three Roca Brothers. Who I immediately thought are named Larry, Darryl, and another brother Darryl.
However using the schooling my parents made sure I have, turns out they are the co-founders of El Celler de Can Roca. What’s that? It’s a restaurant. Well, it’s been named the best restaurant in the world. Twice. So more than just “a restaurant”.
Opened in 1986 by Joan, Josep, and Jordi, El Celler de Can Roca holds three Michelin stars and is located in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. The wine cellar has 60,000 wines. The youngest son, Jordi, was shown on Netflix’s Chef’s Table. The whole place is a success.
But how are they on whisky? Shall we?
Price: $175.20 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 7.5YR 5/8
Nose: Cranberry, treacle/caramel cake, the beach, raisin, pastry
Interesting wood and red fruits. Lovely rich rain and caramel. And just a touch of salt air and hot sand.
This makes me want to dive in more. It teases you a bit. There are butter and raisins and it’s no surprise I love desserts… Let’s get to the taste.
Taste: Butter, grapefruit, apricot cake, plum, cherry, birch syrup, raisin
This throws a lot at you. Lots of fruits. Changing, more and more. There are bitter elements here. Dry elements. Not just a fruit punch, more like a really good Sangria. But not getting drunk on a hot day with your mom Sangria, you know?
Finish: Ginger, apple pie, lime zest, oak, brown sugar, caramelized pineapple
The finish has interesting spice, apple pie aspects. Or apple crumble. Or just some burnt pineapple.
That said, all the fruit eventually makes you wish for a bit more. Something outside of the fruit.
Conclusion: I’m torn on this one. I can certainly see why some people prefer the next one over this one, and I can see why I liked this one over the next one.
Frankly, there are some interesting levels of different flavours. It’s complex. However, it sticks to acidity, fruit, and bitterness. So I dock some points.
Others may get bored of it. It’s doing the whole Autumn thing, but really, really well. Like it’s safe maybe. Or maybe that’s okay. I don’t know. I just know I really enjoyed this.
Macallan Edition No. 3 is the most recent (so far) release from Macallan for the annual Edition series.
So with No. 1, they left it up to the Master Whisky Maker. With No. 2 they brought in three of the greatest chef’s out there to help. No. 3? They brought in Master Perfumer Roja Dove.
This is where I admit I’m not as knowledgeable. The smelly stuff that people wear isn’t my real scene. What I am impressed by is that Roja Dove can identify 800 different aromas blindfolded.
And with that, I think the whisky industry should be fighting the perfume industry tooth and nail, as far as I’m concerned, because a great nose is a rare find.
So Bob Dalgarno used Roja to select dominant notes in the whisky. But how did it all turn out? Let’s see, shall we?
Price: $179.95 CAD at the LCBO
Colour: 10YR 6/8
Nose: Craisins, rich caramel, blueberry, cotton, grassy, mushrooms
Initial nose reminds me of standard, sherried Macallan. Not that that’s a bad or good thing. It’s just a thing. Maybe I expect more, maybe I don’t.
Then it starts opening up into floral, lighter notes. Even some earth aspect that gently comes in.
Taste: Mineral, cricket flour, nectarine, raisin, brown sugar
More mineral and spice at first. I’m still getting some sense of mineral as a note. I like it, and in these cases with fruit coming after it, it’s really nice. However, I still can’t shake being a kid and trying Perrier the first 100 times and not liking some bitter aspect to it.
Interesting earth and sweet spice. As I’ve said before, cricket flour tastes like something between cinnamon and cumin.
Finish: Mineral, taro, peach, cola, hazelnut, brown sugar, lemon, ginger
Again, subtle flavours. Earth, sweet, more earth, then back to sweet. The earth is tied up in here pretty well.
The mineral seems fitting, though could be better integrated.
Conclusion: Alright so liking No. 3 versus No. 2 is all about subtle notes. What subtle notes you like or don’t. At the end of the day, it comes down to not loving earth or mineral too much.
That said, this is really, really subtle. Well put together, interesting, and overall a nice dram to have. It takes the standard Macallan range and polishes it. For that reason, it’s worth trying multiple times. I’m glad I did.
Scotch review #893-895, Speyside review #258-260, Whisky Network review #1426-1428