The fifth of twelve whiskies in this year’s Blind Tasting Competition. Because age-guessing is part of the game, I never think of NAS whiskies. But, apart from that, I would never have guessed Macallan. Just on principe. Value for Money things and such.
Somehow, one of the most iconic distilleries of Scotch Single Malt Whisky is not on my radar. At all.
This ‘Rich Cacao’ version matured for an unknown time in Sherry seasoned European and American oak casks. While that sounds impressive to me it just says ‘it’s not a proper sherry cask’. Forgive me my cynicism but I’m just not a fan of trying to market these choices as something beneficial or thought-out.
Anyway, I’m just not a fan of brands like Macallan that are so swamped in marketing. And don’t get me wrong, there used to be a LOT of awesome Macallan available, a decade or two ago. I just don’t like where the brand has gone since.
Let’s see what this one did, when tasted blind.
There is a LOT of sweet sherry on the nose with a bit of a funky edge to it. Stewed red fruits, baked apple, baking spices too. A fairly timid distillery character apart from the funkiness. There’s a spicy heat in the background, black pepper and chilis. A trace of bitterness too, dark chocolate and fruit stones. With more time notes of fudge become more and more prominent.
The palate is very consistent with the nose, with the same peppery bite and otherwise a rather light character. Chilis, a bit of a funkiness of those stewed fruits and baked apples. Some oak, but not a lot. As in, the fruitiness feels wood-driven, but there’s not a lot of ‘direct’ oak.
The finish is a bit more rich, and a bit more dry. Some peppery spices again, some fruits, fudge and caramel. A slight coastal note too.
So, lots of sherry, but not the style of sherry I enjoy. Similar in style to the Hazelburn Oloroso cask that is released annually. Too sweet, at least for me. Of course, it’s not all bad, because there are similarities with Hazelburn (which was my guess initially, until the day before this it turned out to be Springbank). Some funky notes and some spices too.