Whisky Reviews

Whisky Review #03 – The Macallan Sienna (NAS)

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The Macallan Sienna is the third bottle in the 1824 Series and was released together with the Macallan Amber. Being the third darkest out of the 4, it is also matured in sherry casks. This whisky comprises of naturally coloured whiskies that are selected by hue and flavour. Its name, Sienna, refers to a naturally occurring pigment, highlighting Macallan’s practise of not adding colours to their whiskies.

Awards:

Gold – Liquid Gold Award – 2014

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible

 

Tasting Notes:

Colour: As the name suggest, the colour of this whisky is sienna, or shall we say dark amber?
ABV: 43%

Nose: A very pleasant subtle yet persistent vanilla nose greets us before we are attacked by a zesty and sharp orange. Green apples came in almost immediately after to soften the sharpness, adding freshness and balance to the already pleasant nose. White chocolate truffles come after, with elegant oak notes as a close to the complex, flavourful liquid. (16 points)

Palate: A mixture of spice and fruits -dates, figs and raisins march in when we drink it, before bowing out to nutmeg and ginger. The slight sharpness is softened by a hint of oranges and apples before strong vanilla overpowers them to form a slightly sweet taste as we swallow. (15 points)

Body: A well balanced whisky that holds up the promise of the nose magnificently. The persistent vanilla lingers from the nose to the palate, while the green apples keeps the sharpness of the zesty orange at bay. A good whisky – in our opinions! (32 points)

Finish: A beautiful finish that is gentle, smooth and warm all at the same time. The warm feeling that it gives comforts even the most stressful of us. (15 points)

Total Grade: 78 points

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Whisky Review #02 – The Macallan Amber (NAS)

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The Macallan Amber is part of the Macallan 1824 Series and one of the later batch of Macallan’s ageless whiskies. In an attempt to move the whisky industry away from the age statement whiskies, Macallan boldly made the move to release limited edition bottlings that are ageless. Launched after the Macallan Gold, this whisky is a predictable, amber-coloured dram. Having matured in sherry casks, it is chosen to be more fully flavoured than the Gold.

Awards:

Bronze – Scotch Single Malt – Speyside – 2013

International Wine & Spirit Competition

Tasting Notes:

Colour: The colour is distinctly from sherry casks. The liquid glinted amber as we hold it up to the light.
ABV: 40%

Nose: Floral, citrus and sweet come on strongly as we take the first sniff. This is slowly taken over by a chorus of vanilla notes over freshly harvested grains as we take a second sniff. A subtle hint of raisins, sultana and cinnamon comes through in the third sniff before toffee apples and candy floss take over. The sweet smell can become overpowering if you are not a lover of sweet whisky. (14 points)

Palate: Fresh green apples and lemons wash over us at the first taste. The sweet citrus is mixed with cinnamon and just a hint of ginger as we rolled the liquid in our mouths. As we swallow, subtle oak lingers at the back of the mouth pleasantly. (15 points)

Body: This feels less balanced when compared to Macallan Gold as we feel that that palate does not come through as strongly as the nose, making the whisky a little disappointing. Nonetheless, the sherry casks that this whisky was matured in gives the body a strong sweet flavour that can be a hit with lovers of sherry casks. (28 points)

Finish: The slightly dry finish is light but it can be a medium finish for some. Soft fruits and cereal roll in our mouths for a while – quite a pleasant finish in our opinions. (15 points)

Total Grading: 72 points

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Whisky Review #01 – The Macallan Gold (NAS)

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The Macallan Gold is part of the Macallan 1824 Series and one of the first ageless whiskies from the Macallan. In a bold move to remove the emphasis on age in the whisky industry, the Macallan released a series of ageless whisky that are dependent on colours alone. The Macallan Gold was released in September 2012. It was created from a combination of 9 to 15 years old first fill and refill sherry cask spirit and is a great stand-in for the now defunct 10 years old Sherry Oak and the 10 years old Fine Oak bottlings.

Tasting Notes:

Colour: The colour looks light gold when held to the light at first, but the slightly burnished gold becomes evident on a closer look.
ABV: 40%

Nose: Lemon citrus and orange peel hits you as we nose it for the first time. A repeated sniff brings an interlace of sweetness that softens but does not compromise the zest.  As we take a deeper breathe, a hint of vanilla surfaced, followed by dark chocolate with lingering floral and light oak notes. It smells light and sweet, something that Geek Flora might love. (16 points)

Palate: The first taste brings citrus and boiled sweets along with subtle hints of ginger and cinnamon. As we rolled the liquid in our mouths, the soft oak tones surfaced followed by toasted apples. (14 points)

Body: The body of the whisky is relatively balanced with the citrus and sweetness gelling nicely together to form a light whisky. (30 points)

Finish: The finish is slightly sweet and malty with a little dryness on the side. (13 points)

Total Grade: 73 points

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Introduction to The Macallan 1824 Series

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The Macallan 1824 series has been launched since September 2012 with a range of different whiskies that are based on colours instead of age. All the whiskies in this series has no age statement but instead, are based on the colour the whiskies take on during the maturation period. Since its first launch, the range of whiskies under the 1824 series have expanded to include some of the rarest and most expensive whiskies that Macallan has ever made.

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The 1824 series started with 4 whiskies – Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby. All of the four whiskies used ex-sherry casks, including both European and American oak casks, of which there is a mix of first-fill and second-fill casks. No whiskies from ex-bourbon casks are used. To create the final products, Master Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno and his team sampled and colour tested 30,000 casks! The final products are then named for their individual colours.

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Macallan then expanded the 1824 series by introducing 5 premium whiskies after the first 4 whiskies were launched. The new whiskies thus formed the Macallan 1824 Master Series. The premium whiskies are the Macallan Rare Cask, the Macallan Rare Cask Black, the Reflexion, the Macallan No. 6 and the Macallan M. These whiskies are similar created using only ex-sherry casks and as you move up the range, the colour of the whiskies becomes richer and the flavours more intense. This premium range was launched between 2013 to 2016 in various countries which attracted many whisky fans and collectors. In fact, the Macallan M achieved a New World Record price at US$628,000 in an auction by Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, making it the world’s most expensive whisky!

In the following posts, we will be doing a series of bite-sized posts to share the details and tasting notes of these whiskies. Keep a look out for them!

More on The Macallan

Macallan was established in 1824 by founder Alexander Reid. It was originally named as the Elchies distillery, after the estate that it was built on. The famous Elchies House, which forms part of the logo of the Macallan today, dates back to 1700 and have weathered through many adventures. The distillery and surrounding estate has the mighty River Spey as its backdrop and are situated near the Speyside village of Craigellachie in Scotland. It is now owned by the Edrington Group and has an annual production of 8 million litres of whisky.

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