I’m not a huge Macallan fan, and that’s not really a secret, and my disappointment with the new NAS line (Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby) didn’t add points to the brand. I’ve tasted quite a few Macallans (Sherry Oak 12-25, Fine oak 10-25, the full regular retail 1824 Series NAS line, several of the 1824 Collection travel retail expressions and several independent bottlings. One very blatant hole in my tasting repertoire is the 10 year old Cask Strength, but I hope I found a sample of it and I’ll get it later in the summer. My various Macallan reviews may be found here), and was honestly not really blown away by any of them. Some were better than others, some were downright good, but none left me starry eyed.
Until last night!
The travel retail Macallan Oscuro is utterly stunning! This is an absolute sherry bomb made from casks distilled between 1987-1997 (so we’re talking about a 17+ year old), matured in Oloroso sherry casks (obviously with a very high proportion of first fill casks), and bottled in what used to be a nice bottle in a box, and has recently been switched to a lush decanter, probably to somehow justify the $900 price tag it carries.
Don’t get me wrong, this is outstanding whisky! I really like these Oloroso sherry bombs, and the Aberlour A’bunadh is a mainstay in my cabinet. The Oscuro is what I always imagined the A’bunadh would be with another decade in cask. By the way, Aberlour, how about picking up the gauntlet and coming out with a cask strength 15 year old A’bunadh? How about out-Macallening Macallan?
Macallan Oscuro, Pre 2014 Bottle (46.5% ABV, NCF, NC)
Appearance: Dark Mahogany, very slow legs, oily even, with a residual ring.
Nose: An older, deeper Aberlour A’bunadh, this is serious sherry bomb territory. Sweet sherry with a dryness, cake icing, wet dark raisins, dried fruit (prunes and apricots), cinnamon and a lot of nutmeg, espresso, dark berries with the signature Macallan nose just under the surface.
Palate: Full bodied with a milk chocolate sweetness and a strong espresso’s bitterness, with a slightly bitter spiciness. Dried apricots and a mouth drying effect you would get from a quince compote with cinnamon and clove cooked in it in abundance.
Linger: Crazy long. I still could taste it after 70 minutes. Mouth drying with notes of coffee, and sweet cherries on the tongue and cinnamon spiciness in the gullet. Long, dry and tannic.
WOW, this is fabulous whisky. It left me totally speechless. If everything coming out of Macallan was this caliber, I’d be a real fan. The problem with it, of course, is it’s really low VFM. At $900 (or £650), you can get several stunning sherry bombs – including the 20 Year Old Glenfarclas 105 at one third of the price of the Oscuro.
I want to thank Ishai for sharing this fabulous dram with me. Thanks, buddy!