A fine journey.
There’s nothing quite like watching people get out of their prams and lose their minds over Macallan. You see the same kind of stone chucking and name calling in horological circles with Rolex and in the car world where the Ford Focus driver tells you why Bentley is crap and they’d never have one. Of course, reactions like these tend to say much more about the people making the fuss than the thing they’re getting so animated about.
So, it’s finally over. Macallan’s sixth and final NAS edition has landed. It all started so quietly with no.1, no.2 blew the doors off and gave me the ‘fear’ and I’ve been enjoying them to varying degrees ever since. Now it’s time for the last one. And it’s a pretty thing.
Baby you’re so blue! If there’s one thing everyone can agree upon (though some would never just to be obstreperous, cantankerous sourpusses) is that the look of this range has been wonderfully colourful and classy. This final one is a beautiful sky blue that has a backstory tipping its hat at the river Spey.
So. Have they done the range proud and given it a sign off worth drinking?
No. It’s garbage. Macallan are idiots and charlatans and just a marketing company, people who like it are idiots, sheep, they only care about the brand recognition. This isn’t even good enough to wash my feet with. It’s getting 2 points from me. I’m angry and grumpy and petty and I need you to know it. ...
Well, they have, regardless of what the Victor Meldrews' would have you believe. It’s lovely, a perfect word to describe it. Right away the nose telegraphs you all the typical Macallan elements. It’s all there, a sherry character that is unmistakable. It’s rich and solid like a big, old oak cupboard. Polished wood, bees wax, Manuka, raisins, dried plums, dried ginger powder and old, ground cinnamon, varnish and that chocolate thing that Macallan can do so well. I love this kind of smell at this time of year. I’m sitting here in front of a big log fire and it just works. Toasted oak and roasted, toasted crunchy nuts. There’s also a lightness of touch in there. It’s not some sherry monster that flattens everything in it’s path, it envelops everything gently. This is Macallan. Terrible stuff. Made by idiots. No, morons! Did I tell you I hate Macallan?
In the mouth. Mmmmmmmmacallan. Well, well done boys and girls. Just the ticket. It’s not the orange oil bomb of no.2 and it’s less of the coffee and chocolate monster that I found in no.4, more body and heft than 3 and 5. It's sweet on arrival - I initially got flashbacks of sweet rums and sherry, lots of toasted cereals and nuts, the viscosity is as good as any of the others, it sticks to your ribs. It’s rich and warming but never veers towards any kind of harshness, it’s been polished expertly. Cinnamon, ginger, cocoa powder, gentle oak, toasted nuts and toasted Madeira cake crumbs, there's red fruit in there too. A smear of jam, some sort of red fruit, maybe a wayward raspberry or strawberry. I’m loving this. Another smear of Old Oxford marmalade. Pastry, some bits where it’s been slightly over cooked and the glaze is sticky.
One small glass. 20 minutes after and my palate is still aware of the sherry and wood influence. It’s not a heavy finish but it’s strong and solid and has a lasting effect. ‘Medium+ but extremely persistent’ probably explains it best. Very, very enjoyable. Turns out I like even numbers, this is up there with 2 and 4 without a problem. Lovely.
So a little story. I picked it up yesterday from my local booze emporium and made them open it on the counter and we all had a glass. And then I made the only other lockdown customer in there have a glass too (sharing is the best). This chap was pretty new to whisky and hadn’t heard of Macallan before. His unsolicited reaction was priceless. ‘Oh god, that’s the best thing I’ve ever drank. Period. I want what he’s got. Have you got any more bottles?’ I feel sorry for him. He’s gonna be another one of ‘those people’ who likes something for what it is and, will be no doubt, be told he’s an idiot by people who know better. Such is life.