The Macallan 1824 Selection

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The Macallan is a brand of single malt most whisky aficionados are well acquainted with. Everyone knows that Macallan make good whisky, and everyone knows that their thing is sherry. The problem with everyone knowing this is that with the current whisky boom, demand for Macallan is through the roof.

I’m personally not a huge fan myself. I’ve always found their bottlings a little overpriced, not bad whisky in any way, but I can find whisky of the same calibre for a much lower price. Their clientele are an odd mix of the show-off collector types as well as the true whisky lovers, though they tend to focus their marketing on the former. But they

Anyways, possibly due to the immense demand, although nothing confirmed, Macallan replaced their two core bottlings, exclusively sherry matured 12 and 18 year old expressions, with a slightly expanded range of age stated expressions matured in a variety of cask types, named Fine Oak.

A while after that, they changed their core range again to the 1824 series. In this they had done away with the age statements altogether. Instead each expression was named after a progressively darker colour, namely Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby, probably indicating an increasing proportion of sherry matured whisky in its makeup.

I was curious about these whiskies as it’s a huge change for such an established brand like Macallan, however they’re still overpriced, so I just got myself a sample of each and had a go.


Macallan Gold

Aged 3 years*. 40% ABV. No colourant added.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Light fruit, peaches, apricots, soft pear. Lemon curd. Wood shavings. Parmesan cheese. Slight soapy note.

Palate: Feels quite thin. Bitter wood. Orange peel. Sultanas. Lemon zest. Acetone.

Finish: Bitter. Acetone. Slightly salty. Not much here really.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

Fades too fast. The nose is decent, not complex but pleasant, but the palate is unbalanced and ends on a pretty nasty note with carries through into the finish, if one could call it that.


Macallan Amber

Aged 3 years*. 40% ABV. No colourant added.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Yellow cherries. Marmalade. Toffee. Caramel pudding. Stewed pears. Pine. Slight sulphur and ethanol.

Palate: Still thin feeling but more flavour here than the Gold. Jaffa cakes. Marmalade. Amaretto. Slightly nutty wood. A little bitter on the swallow, but in a good way.

Finish: Short. Bitter wood. Orange peel. Cloves. Allspice.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

Not bad this. It had quite a bit more flavour to it than the Gold, and was on the whole quite pleasant. It had quite a bit of bitterness and spiciness to it but in a refreshing kind of way.


Macallan Sienna

Aged 3 years*. 43% ABV. No colourant added.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Raspberries. Charred fruits. Marmalade. Slight woodsmoke. Vanilla pods. Sticky toffee pudding. Milk chocolate. Sulphur.

Palate: Fresh linen. Cloves. Vanilla essence. Cacao. Black cherries. Dried orange peel. Pickled ginger.

Finish: Medium. Ginger. Woodspice. Honey. Plums.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 2/5

We’re starting to feel the sherry influence here. This had some good notes to it, but also some unbalanced bitter ones which I didn’t find very refreshingly pleasant like the Amber.


Macallan Ruby

Aged 3 years*. 43% ABV. No colourant added.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Dusty. Nutty wood. Sherry. Orange peels. Lilacs. Prunes. Very slight woodspice notes, need to work to notice them.

Palate: Ginger. Bitter wood. Somewhat unpleasant soapy note, unbalanced sherry maybe. Very nutty sherry.

Finish: Medium. Bitter. Nutty sherry. Raisins. Cloves. Pepper.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 1/5

This was a miss for me. This cost double the price of the expression one tier below and it’s really not worth it. I found it hard to get any unique notes out of it, and some of the more dominant notes were quite unpleasant. The sherry character here was very pronounced, but I found it weird and unbalanced.


Well, that was a fun experiment. Unfortunately these expressions pale in comparison to the older age stated ones. I think they might even have been replaced by now, Macallan is churning out these NAS expressions at such a rate that it’s hard to keep up.

The Sienna and Amber were decent enough and drinkable, just nothing really unique that would make me want them over any other light, Highland/Speyside whisky, like Glengoyne for example.

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