Macallan recently replaced their core range of products, which had age statements on them with a number of new whiskies focused on the “natural colour” of the whiskies, of which this whisky is the cheapest. Lots of stir has been created with these, as less information about the whisky is now presented on the label, and it allows the distillers to use casks that may not be quite old enough due to supply issues. With that said, some barrels mature faster than others, so it also enables the distilleries to take advantage of that. Generally, I don’t mind No-Age-Statement (NAS) releases, provided they are quality product – it keeps people away from the general age-is-better (not always) mentality, and enables more creativity. However, sadly, many of these NAS whiskies provide very little information about what actually goes into them, which is very unfortunate, and it gives distilleries license to provide even less information about their product. I find difficult in finding what is actually good rather than just a nicely marketed with all these releases everywhere.
This particular whisky has been matured exclusively in sherry oak, which Macallan obtains from Jerez in spain where both the casks and the sherry seasoning are carefully controlled and selected. The Macallan is often identified as a luxury brand (perhaps the stereotypical brand of lawyers), and they do a very nice job presenting all their whiskies, which I like. Also it is the third highest selling single malt, behind Glenfiddich and Glenlivet.
Nose: That’s a lot of honey and malt on the nose! Honeycomb, and lighter honey rather than a powerful honey like manuka. Lemon zest, light vanilla, dried apricot, with a slight creaminess too. At times, there’s some odd bitter staleness that comes through as well, which detracts from this. 25/30 (83%)
Taste: Lots of honey, as well, supported by some very nice barley. Honey, honey, honey – I don’t know that I’ve ever encountered a whisky so full of it. The feel is decent, as well – and the malt also just shines through this one as well. The sweetness level is light, and just about perfect for balance. Dried apricot is also lightly present, as well as dried apple, and the sherry casks are also quite present. 26/30 (87%)
Finish: Some light spices come through – ginger and clove, almond, baked apple, a touch of oak, and a bit of dryness. The malt is lightly present as well, with accompanying light earthy notes and nuttiness. Tingly spices. Quite enduring with the maltiness and honey lasting for a good while. 18/20 (90%)
Conclusion: A serious amount of honey! It is a satisfying whisky, and one that is very reminiscent of many honey-laden hot drinks in the winter with the ginger and honey. It feels quite clean, and speaks its message quite well. I don’t like it as much as the 12 year old, but it’s certainly not bad. 17/20 (85%)