Like a plain, functional piece of furniture.
It is a basic and unassuming dram. Light on its toes, the nose is pleasant and whilst instantly being recognisable as Macallan, it lacks many things that are expected on the palate.
Strangely though, I find it’s perfunctory nature rather endearing, regardless of its obvious shortcomings. Sometimes you just want a bowl of porridge not a full blown roast. This may be the dram for such yearnings.
On the nose it's light and perfumed, honeysuckle and lightest vanilla and peach juice mixes with the typical Macallan sherry nose and toasted oak and wood shavings. It is delicate (too delicate?) and signposts the palate quite nicely.
In the mouth and the line between the nose and the palate is unambiguous. The oak plays a dominant roll, there's sweetness and woody notes but all turned down to a mere hum. Flashes of honey and feint ginger, fruit syrups and distant sherry. There’s a lovely soft and peppery finish to the proceedings, warming and round and soft. It's pleasant to be sure, but lacking a little muscle.
Up against the basic sherry oak 12 and it’s never going to win first prize, but in its own way, as a mindless workaday dram to take the edge of the day it’s a very passable diversion. The oak character is a welcome change to the Macallan sherry dominated style and it plays well with the sherry influence that is there but you keep feeling that bottling at 40abv is hampering the liquid immensely. Is this stuff clocked in at something nearing 45% it would be transformed. As unlikely as Macallan selling premixed cans of their juice with Coke. A pity. It reminds me greatly of Glenfidich 12 but with more finesse and more complexity.
Good, enjoyable and serviceable, but not great by any stretch of the imagination but one I’d be happy to have a box of to slowly amble my way through.