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“Because you can't buy happiness... but you can buy whisky and that's pretty much the same thing”

Read stories about The Macallan of A Wardrobe of Whisky blog.

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Whisky Tasting Session 2012-05: Blind fun!

By Miguel in Tasting , News , Featured , The Macallan , Bunnahabhain , Aberlour , Macduff

I have joined Jean-Marie Putz of whisky-distilleries.info and twenty other whisky zealots in the fifth blind tasting session of this year.

wts-tasting-sessions-2012-05

The principle is that whisky producers supply whisky they select themselves, according to their marketing goals. The sent whisky bottles are sampled and sent to about 20 tasters who write their impressions about every whisky. Their impressions and their quotation are published in Whisky distilleries blog.

The Whisky Tasting sessions are a flight of six whiskies tasted blind. Usually bottles are from independent bottlers that are really strong sellers in central Europe.

The samples arrived a few weeks ago in a supercool box. Each samples was 2.5cl and bottled in a small flask. Work has been been delaying me on tasting the six samples but finally this Thursday I had a few spare hours to taste them.

wts-tasting-sessions-2012-05-1

Usually I try to short the samples as explained in the how to taste whisky article, but this time I just decided to enjoy and go ahead. Mainly because if I sort the samples I will lack of time to taste them properly.

Sample N 1

“Unpromising nose but then a really delicious taste. Maybe Redbreast?”

89
Macduff 1980 Malts of Scotland
Impressive whisky from Macduff distillery bottled by Malts of Scotland from the 1980 vintage.

This single cask malt has been matured in a bourbon hogshead and bottled at cask strength at a whopping 54,1% abv.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (87): more than average. floral, honey, spices, vanilla, citrus. Very irish style.

Palate (90): powerful. floral, honey, spices, citrus, vanilla, peaches, wood.

Finish (90): longer than average. floral, spices, citrus, honey.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macduff 1980 Malts of Scotland with 89 points over 100.

Sample N 2

“Nicely floral... maybe a highlander? finished in sherry cask?”

88
Aberlour 17 years Anam Na H-Alba
A 17 years old cask strength single malt whisky from Aberlour distillery.
Bottled by Anam Na H-Alba at an incredible 60,6% abv.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (88): more than average. honey, vanilla, citrus, toffee. Powerful toffee aroma. Like a Cadbury box

Palate (89): . honey, floral, spices, citrus, wood, chocolate.

Finish (88): average. toffee, spices, vanilla.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Aberlour 17 years Anam Na H-Alba with 88 points over 100.

Sample N 3

“Very nice sherried whisky. I think I have already tasted this one...”

89
Macallan 1989 Whiskies of Scotland
A single malt whisky distilled in the Macallan distillery.

This whisky has been bottled at 47.1% abv from the 1989 vintage by Whiskies of Scotland

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (89): more than average. toffee, floral, vanilla, peaches. Very closed nose but really nice.

Palate (90): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, wood, vanilla, citrus, spices, cinnamon, tobacco. I am sure I have tasted this one before... umm... no clue right now.

Finish (89): average. honey, tobacco, vanilla, wood.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan 1989 Whiskies of Scotland with 89 points over 100.

Sample N 4

“Superb nose! I am almost sure this one is An Cnoc single malt”

90
Blended Malt batch 116 Dailuaine 1999 & Linkwood 1998
This vatted whisky, or blended malt whisky as the Scotch Whisky Association prefers, is the result of blending together a Dailuaine 1999 with a Linkwood 1998.

Bottled by Jean Boyer - Le Puits Whisky at 43%. This bottled belongs to batch 116.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. toffee, vanilla, citrus. An Cnoc! It must be an Cnoc! Delicious!

Palate (90): smooth, oily. honey, vanilla, floral, citrus, wood, spices, anise, cinnamon.

Finish (89): longer than average. toffee, vanilla, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Blended Malt batch 116 Dailuaine 1999 & Linkwood 1998 with 90 points over 100.

Sample N 5

“Superb stuff! Peat and sherry marvel!”

91
Bunnahabhain 20 years old Wilson & Morgan
An awesome Bunnahabhain 20 years old bottled by Wilson & Morgan.

This incredible Islay single malt whisky has been bottled at cask strength at a very interesting 48.5 abv. A real crack whisky.

This dram has a tawny-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, sulphur, peat, citrus, nuts. Old sherried japanese single malt style whisky.

Palate (92): powerful, oily. honey, peat, wood, citrus, spices, cinnmon. Very nice.

Finish (91): longer than average. peat, honey, spices, maritime.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bunnahabhain 20 years old Wilson & Morgan with 91 points over 100.

Sample N 6

“Another sherry crack with a lovely nose”

90
Macallan 1990 Fino Sherry Hogshead Malts of Scotland
An interesting Macallan single malt whisky from 1990 vintage matured fully in a Fino sherry hogshead.

This whisky has been bottled by Malts of Scotland at 51.5% abv.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, citrus, spices, cinnamon, candies, smoke. Old whisky here...

Palate (90): powerful, oily. honey, spices, pepper, floral, citrus, nuts.

Finish (89): longer than average. honey, spices, nuts.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan 1990 Fino Sherry Hogshead Malts of Scotland with 90 points over 100.

In conclusion

It has been a very nice tasting, really fun. And I have tasted two Macallans! Tasting the first one I was really really sure that I have already tasted it. Also really impressed by a very nice Bunnahabhain with its incredible peat and sherry style.

My favorite has been the Bunnahabhain whisky, very similar in style to the impressive bottling of The Whisky Barrel for Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.


Tasting Macallan 12 years old 1997 Douglas Laing Provenance

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“Not my kind of whisky but I know many of you that would kill for this one. The most floral Macallan I have ever had”

84
Macallan 12 Year Old 1997 Cask 5745 - Provenance (Douglas La
This single malt whisky was distilled at Macallan in the Autumn of 1997.

It was then aged for 12 years in refill hogshead number 5745 before bottling by Douglas Laing in the Winter of 2010.

This whisky is the most floral Macallan that I have had. Not a single trace of that incredible sherry character Macallan whiskies usually have.

This dram has a white wine-like color.

Nose (85): more than average. honey, some floral, spices, vanilla, citrus. Very floral Macallan. One of the most floral I have ever had.

Palate (84): smooth, powerful. floral, wood, spices, vanilla, honey, smoke. Really floral. At times it remind me of Glenglassaugh

Finish (83): longer than average. floral, citrus, vanilla.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan 12 Year Old 1997 Cask 5745 - Provenance (Douglas La with 84 points over 100.

The Macallan the 1824 Collection Whisky Maker's Edition Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“It is hard to find an Oloroso cask aged whisky that let the character of Macallan shine in such a way. Absolutely delicious.”

89
Macallan The 1824 Collection Whisky Maker's Edition
According to The Macallan, "Containing rare whisky distilled from barley grown on The Macallan's Estate which brings a velvety mouthfeel, Whisky Maker's Edition recognises the skill and dedication of The Macallan's Whisky Maker, Bob Dalgarno. Bottled at Bob's preferred strength of 42.8%, this has an intensity and robustness of flavor."

Less obviously sweet on the nose than Select Oak, this Edition offers a nose of toffee, raisins, figs and honey. The palate is rounded, full and spicy, with nutmeg, leather, hazelnuts and chocolate orange. Lengthy in the finish, with nutty, dark chocolate, a whiff of smoke and mild oak.

It is one of the nicest sherried Macallan that allow the true characteristics of the Macallan spirit to shine. Lovely one. Part of the 1824 Collection that was originally created as a travel retail exclusive.

If you like this whisky you should try some of the Sherry Oak Macallans.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (88): more than average. honey, toffee, floral, citrus, nuts, cocoa.

Palate (90): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, wood, nuts, leather, tobacco, nuts. Wonderful! Oloroso cask! Like I love it!

Finish (90): longer than average. honey, nuts, leather, oranges.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan The 1824 Collection Whisky Maker's Edition with 89 points over 100.

Don’t miss the interview with Bob Dalgarno, whisky maker at the Macallan and responsible of the successful 1824 Collection.


The Macallan 10 years old Sherry Oak Cask Strength Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“Most mindblowing awesomeness! And to think that I bought two of this Macallan for €50 just a few years ago... best buy ever!”

92
Macallan 10 year Sherry Oak Cask Strength
The Macallan Sherry Oak is exclusively matured in selected sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain instead of using different kind of casks as the Fine Oak range does.

This expression is matured for 10 years and then bottled at original cask strength without chill filtration or the addition of water. The result is a particularly rich Single Malt, best enjoyed with a splash of water to release the complex aromas and sumptuous flavours.

Even if the prices on the Internet are high this Macallan is worth every penny you pay for it.

This dram has a old oak-like color.

Nose (91): more than average. nuts, honey, citrus, wood, cinnamon. Marvelous!

Palate (92): powerful, oily. nuts, honey, wood, citrus, cocoa, tobacco. The epitome of sherry aged drams. I love this profile.

Finish (92): longer than average. nuts, honey, citrus.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan 10 year Sherry Oak Cask Strength with 92 points over 100.

The Macallan Oscuro Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“It is a nice Macallan whisky with a very interesting nose. I wonder how old is it...”

88
The Macallan Oscuro
Interesting single malt whisky from this Speyside distillery.

Originally a travel retail exclusive, Macallan Oscuro is a combination of casks of whisky distilled between 1987 and 1997. They have combined the collect ability of Macallan with their trademark rich sherried elegance to create a much sought after whisky.

This is a great sherried single malt whisky that is part of the the 1824 Collection that was originally created as a travel retail exclusive.

This dram has a old oak-like color.

Nose (87): more than average. molasses, floral, citrus, vanilla, spices, nut meg. Interesting aromas for a Macallan. Smells more like a very old naval rum.

Palate (88): powerful, oily. honey, wood, citrus, spices, vanilla, floral.

Finish (88): longer than average. honey, wood, spices, floral.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this The Macallan Oscuro with 88 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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The Macallan the 1824 Collection Select Oak Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“Like Macallan whiskies used to be! Strong sherry character in this dram.”

90
Macallan The 1824 Collection Select Oak
Lovely Macallan created with the help of the Wood Master of the distillery. This is a great sherried single malt whisky that is part of the 1824 Collection that was originally created as a travel retail exclusive.

If you like this whisky you should try some of the Sherry Oak Macallans.

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, nuts, peaches, wood, tobacco, vanilla.

Palate (90): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, wood, nuts, leather, floral, wood, tobacco, vanilla.

Finish (90): longer than average. honey, tobacco, wood.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan The 1824 Collection Select Oak with 90 points over 100.

The Macallan The 1824 Collection Estate Reserve Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“Quintessential Macallan! If someone asks me how a Macallan should taste I would give them a dram of this whisky.”

91
Macallan The 1824 Collection Estate Reserve
Awesome the Macallan created with very best stocks of the distillery. This is a great sherried single malt whisky that is part of the the 1824 Collection that was originally created as a travel retail exclusive.

The distiller declares that "Drawing on casks which deliver a maximum intensity and depth of flavour, this single malt includes some traditional Sherry seasoned hogshead casks specially reserved for this expression. Non-chill filtered and bottled at the old-style 80o proof, more commonly known as '20 under', this is a dram with real character."

If you like this whisky you should try some of the Sherry Oak Macallans.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, toffee, pears, peaches, nuts, raisins, citrus, vanilla.

Palate (93): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, peaches, tobacco, wood, spices, raisins. Lovely! Strong and fruity with lots of sherry character.

Finish (91): longer than average. honey, raisins, nuts, cocoa.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan The 1824 Collection Estate Reserve with 91 points over 100.

The Macallan 1824 Collection Estate Reserve Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“Quintessential Macallan! If someone asks me how a Macallan should taste I would give them a dram of this whisky.”

91
Macallan The 1824 Collection Estate Reserve
Awesome the Macallan created with very best stocks of the distillery. This is a great sherried single malt whisky that is part of the the 1824 Collection that was originally created as a travel retail exclusive.

The distiller declares that "Drawing on casks which deliver a maximum intensity and depth of flavour, this single malt includes some traditional Sherry seasoned hogshead casks specially reserved for this expression. Non-chill filtered and bottled at the old-style 80o proof, more commonly known as '20 under', this is a dram with real character."

If you like this whisky you should try some of the Sherry Oak Macallans.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, toffee, pears, peaches, nuts, raisins, citrus, vanilla.

Palate (93): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, peaches, tobacco, wood, spices, raisins. Lovely! Strong and fruity with lots of sherry character.

Finish (91): longer than average. honey, raisins, nuts, cocoa.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan The 1824 Collection Estate Reserve with 91 points over 100.

Interview with Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker at The Macallan

By Miguel in News , Featured , The Macallan

The Macallan is nowadays one of the most iconic whiskies distilleries in the world with such high demand for its precious whiskies that they are sold out no mind what the price is. Read this interview with the head and nose behind these inspiring whiskies.

Bob Dalgarno,Whisky Maker at The Macallan distillery since 1996.
He was born to the trade, at Glenallachie Distillery not far away, where his father worked, and started at Macallan in 1984 as a warehouseman. After passing through every stage of whisky making mashman, brewer, stillman, warehouse supervisor, operations manager he joined the panel which selects casks for bottling in 1994.

How long have you worked as master distiller at The Macallan?
Bob Dalgarno, I have been Whisky Maker for The Macallan since 2000. From 1996 to 1999 I worked alongside the previous whisky maker.

Where did you work before?
I have worked at The Macallan distillery since 1984, firstly in warehousing, then in production.

If you had to describe your job to a newcomer to whisky in two sentences…
Working as part of a team, my role is to nose mainly mature whisky samples from casks in our warehouses, building knowledge of stock profile. From that knowledge the whiskies are created.

Are there any specific Master distillers that have inspired you? In which way?
I wouldn’t say other Master Distillers have inspired me, but I have the greatest respect for them, not only for what they do, but the people they are.

Right now The Macallan ages whisky in three kind of casks: sherry, bourbon and new oak. Is there any “exotic” experiment taking place right now?
There are always ideas being looked at in the Sample Room.

How is Macallan doing in this period of global crisis?
In challenging times, we continue to meet those challenges.

Many distilleries are creating right now younger, ageless expressions along as special or limited releases. Are we going to see something like this from The Macallan in the coming months?
Working on feedback from consumers, our commercial team then report back on their findings. We created a strength-driven no age statement range in the 1824 Collection exclusively for Duty Free in the past. This allows greater freedom in the creation of products, rather than restricting us by age. With this range the make-up of the whiskies are older rather than younger. The whiskies used required time to mature, in order to showcase the colour and depth of character seen.

Which one of the whiskies that you do at The Macallan are you more proud of?
I would like to think that I am proud of all the whiskies we put together. They have their own challenges and stories to tell.

I love the Macallan 10 years old Cask Strength. Any chance we see another expressions of Macallan at Cask strength, particularly any of the Fine Oak range?
I am delighted that you enjoy this whisky. We are not working on any other cask strength products at present.

In Spain, people don’t drink much single malt whisky. They prefer for Johnnie Walker, Cardhu or J&B. They see The Macallan as a luxury item (and it is priced like that here!). Any advice for our Spanish readers?
I can understand your Spanish readers’ thoughts on The Macallan. The whiskies you have mentioned, Johnnie Walker and Cardhu are nice whiskies and there to be enjoyed, but everyone should afford themselves a little luxury now and then.

What has been the last whisky you have drank? Any favourite?
Last whiskies drank – Macallan 15 Year Old Fine Oak and Bruichladdich 20 Year Old.

The 1824 Collection

Just in case you want to know about these great Macallan whiskies:



Macallan 30 years old Fine Oak

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

“Really delicate nose with an outstanding taste and a long a delicious finish. If only this whisky were done for humans being like you and me...”

91
Macallan 30 year Fine Oak
Thirty year old Macallan is a rare and rarefied whisky. The time spent maturing in carefully selected European and American oak casks which have previously held Sherry or Bourbon creates a rich, intense liquid, with a deep colour achieved wholly naturally through the interaction between spirit and wood.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (91): strong. candies, floral, honey, wood, a little cocoa.

Palate (92): smooth, oily. peaches, dried fruits, wood, candies, smoke, floral, cocoa.

Finish (91): very long. dried fruits, raisins, wood, honey, floral.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Macallan 30 year Fine Oak with 91 points over 100.