Yesterday, we offered a brief article surmising the dilemma that The Macallan faced: in short, low stock meant an urgent rebranding, but their use of younger whisky meant they had to place emphasis on colour, not age.
However, the proof is always to be in the tasting, and here we have our first review of their new range. The Gold has been aged in their traditional sherry casks, although it’s the lightest of their offerings. The nose is, in a word, perplexing: after some thought, it is reminiscent of slightly burnt, nutty butter. It takes a moment before the rich toffee, the freshly dried apricots that are emblematic of The Macallan come through; however, they don’t so much shine as offer a cautious ‘hello’ – it’s as if they have been bound and gagged, unable to express their proper vitality. Swiftly, they are enveloped by a light toast feel. The main problem – and it is a problem – is that the entire whisky is just too watery, lacking any substantial ‘oomph’, and this is especially worrying when it’s from a distillery like The Macallan.
The taste has all the silky smoothness that one expects from the distillery, and it’s a welcome sensation. There’s a hint of toffee, apple and good oak, but it’s all too watery: it’s exceptionally light and floral, but it seems such a timid offering considering the grandiose (and justified) reputation of The Macallan. Its finish is almost like a Glenkinchie, or a Nikka All Malt, but it’s so quiet and non-existent as to be almost impossible to mark. It’s pleasant, enjoyable, but no more than that: it’s like a team playing not to lose rather than to win. So, something of a shame, but – I shall say this – it’s a very good starter for those looking to get into whisky.
Nose 18 Taste 18 Finish 16 Balance 17