Whisky Focus - The Macallan 1824 Series

The Macallan 1824 Series

17th May  2013
Introducing the new Macallan 1824 Series.

The Macallan 1824 Series, is a new range of whiskies from The Macallan. The expressions in the new series are the Macallan Gold, Macallan Amber, Macallan Sienna and Macallan Ruby. The new Macallan 1824 Series replaces the Macallan 10, 12, 15 year old and the Macallan Fine Oak range. All four of the whiskies in the new Macallan 1824 Series were 100% sherry cask matured and showcase two of The Macallan whisky's greatest strengths; oak sherry casks and natural colour.

What most whisky drinkers will notice about the new Macallan 1824 Series is none of the new whiskies carries an age statement which is a very brave move by The Macallan as age has always been very much seen as an indication of quality and price for The Macallan. There will always be arguments amongst whisky drinkers about whether age matters, in my opinion it does matter but the quality of the whisky in the bottle matters far more than the age on the label.

I suspect the removal of the age statement was not something The Macallan would have done if they had vast warehouses full of mature stock which they could use to meet the what seems in recent years an ever increasing demand for The Macallan single malt whisky. With The Macallan being one of the best selling single malts in the world, removing the age statement has probably enabled The Macallan to meet demand by skilfully blending some younger whisky with the mature stuff while giving them the chance to let more stock mature further for the future.

Having tasted the four new whiskies in the new series I would guess that what The Macallan have done here is very skilfully produce a range of whiskies made up of varying ages and the higher you move up the range the older the varying ages of the whiskies in the mix becomes. I would guess each bottling is a mix of 1st fill sherry cask and refill sherry cask matured whisky and as you move up the range the percentage of 1st fill sherry cask increases. As the amount of 1st first fill sherry cask whisky in the mix increases the colour of the whiskies which is natural gets darker and of course the sherry notes become bigger and bolder.

In my humble opinion removing the age statement has enabled The Macallan to produce a  range of whiskies of more interest and complexity to entertain us single malt whisky fanatics. Having said that I firmly believe the price should be proportional to the age of the whisky in the bottle whether it is stated on the label or not. So having tasted all four of the new whiskies in the new Macallan 1824 Series do I think the price is proportional to the quality of the whisky, my answer is yes, I would say in today's market for whiskies of this quality you would be looking at paying these prices.

The Macallan has always been rounded in an unwavering commitment to sourcing the very best oak sherry casks, the most expensive in the industry, The 1824 Series showcases the signature style of The Macallan, embracing the defining elements which have made it one of the world’s truly great single malts.

For The Macallan 1824 Series, Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, has created these four expressions for us by identifying the natural colour formed during maturation in different casks types to create the character informed by these colours. The expressions are Macallan Gold, Macallan Amber, Macallan Sienna and Macallan Ruby, all names reflecting the actual colour of the whiskies in the range, but also describing naturally occurring mineral and metals.

This innovative approach to whisky making is the first to derive the final character from the natural colours drawn into The Macallan from the oak sherry casks over the years of maturation. It has allowed Bob Dalgarno to assess the broadest range of casks delivering an unrivalled range of natural colours. The casks chosen for the range deliver a gradation of colour from light to dark, with the wood character defining each expression’s flavour, moving from lighter, lemon citrus to richer, dried fruit notes. As the whiskies become darker and richer, so the pool of casks able to deliver this character becomes smaller and rarer.

Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker, The Macallan, said, "The Macallan world of colour is the true inspiration of the 1824 Series. Using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, allowing us to explore different casks and take a more flexible approach to our stock. We have been able to work creatively with the full range of matured stock available, rather than working to a pre-determined character based on age. For me, the key thought in this range is that a great single malt doesn’t need to be 30 years old to taste like a 30 year old."

By drawing on his broadest range of skills in cask selection, Bob has been unshackled by the need to draw on casks selected first and foremost for their age. His expert skills ensure consistency through the effective management and selection of the casks which provide the spectrum of natural colour and character essential to The Macallan.

The Macallan Gold (RRP £36), The Macallan Amber (RRP £45), The Macallan Sienna (RRP £66) and The Macallan Ruby (RRP £120) are now available from the specialist whisky shop The Whisky Exchange

The Macallan 1824 Series Tasting Notes

So what do the four new whiskies taste like? Select a whisky to view my tasting notes:


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