Macallan limited editions are sort of becoming de rigueur, however, this isn’t just any old limited release: This expression is from the Red Collection series and you’ll likely note that whisky is seriously old. The Red Collection reflects Macallan’s deep respect for time, tradition and craftsmanship. It is a celebration of the rich range of reds present naturally in The Macallan — in every step of the process. The distinctive red colour weaves its way through our history, starting with the name of our founder Alexander Reid—literally “The Red”, to The Macallan’s ‘Choice Old’ range released over a century ago in 1903, through to Allan Shiach marking vintage bottles of The Macallan with a red ribbon in the 1980s.
This special single malt whisky has been overseen by Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess, who has chosen a expression that has been maturing for over seven extraordinary decades under the watchful eye of generations of whisky makers, until it has reached this perfect moment of maturation. The ‘new make’ spirit from The Macallan’s small copper stills was laid down in hand-picked oak casks and left to mature for seventy eight years, making it the oldest release from The Macallan to date.
On the nose: you’ll experience an initial waft of dark cherries, dried mixed fruits (raisins) and vanilla. After a couple of swirls notes of maple syrup and cocoa starts to emerge with a hint of grapes, ginger stem and some plum notes. A few spicy notes start to appear alongside, cinnamon and cracked black pepper. Completing the nose are notes of old leather, some floral notes, dates and raisin and a hint of tobacco. On the palate: those cherry notes are present, followed by vanilla, maple syrup and those dried fruit notes. Those spices nosed start to emerge, alongside some cinnamon, black pepper and cloves. Tasting it again, notes of lemon zest starts to appear, followed by some sultanas, dates and marzipan, with a hint of dark chocolate and orange. Rounding-off the palate are notes of oatmeal, a hint of nougat, creme brûlée and some leathery notes. The finish: is long, sweet, with lingering mixed dried fruits, spices and cacao.
The verdict: As you know, The Macallan as a brand are so well revered around the world and this limited edition series from the Speyside based distillery – is just a drop of liquid gold. This is a Scotch that on the nose is rather rich and complex that follows through to the palate, and is the only 50-year-old Macallan we’ve tasted to date. It is a delicately balanced scotch but balanced to perfection – from nose to finish it is something to be savoured. With an ABV of 45%, this is probably not a Scotch that I would add any water to, in all honesty, but if you feel the need then only add in small quantities until it just right for you.
Ordinarily, this is the part where I say; The Macallan Red Collections is available online or in well-stocked Whisky Shops, for approximately… However, as a it is a limited edition, Macallan only made it available from their own online shop and what’s more you had to be selected to buy one. There will no doubt be some available to buy at upcoming online whisky auctions, or even perhaps on your international travels..? For more information on this 50-year-old Red Collection expression, visit the official Macallan website.