I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with The Macallan over the years. A decade or more ago, the 18yo was one of the first examples of sherry matured whisky which I properly loved. The 12yo Sherry Oak was a benchmark against which I held all other sherried whiskies. More recently, their 1824 Series had me confused with what their brand message was, and after a while this is what it seemed to be:
“Age is important. No. Age was important. Now it’s not. Now it’s about colour. It’s all about colour. Yes, the darker the colour, the more expensive the whisky. That’s it. So there.”
Not only was I puzzled by the marketing, they pissed me off with their lack of transparency with regards to what I was actually drinking. However, just a couple of months ago Macallan returned with a new 12yo Double Cask, which I reviewed here, and I was encouraged by what I tasted. The Macallan Edition Number 2, a follow on from 2015’s (you guessed it) Edition Number 1, could go either way. And from the off, the wording of the press release didn’t particularly enamour me. Cutting to the chase, this whisky is a vatting of seven different cask types chosen by Bob Dalgarno, Master Whisky Maker at the Macallan, and the Roca brothers, who co-founded El Celler de Can Roca, which has twice been voted best restaurant in the world. If only the PR people had left it at that. Here’s their take on the cask selection, verbatim:
“The whisky is crafted from seven different cask types handpicked by the collaborators to represent different aspects of their personality. The European oak Tevasa casks selected by Bob Dalgarno define and carry the shape of Edition No. 2 with characteristic notes of rich, dried fruit. This speaks of his ever curious, patient and empathetic character.
This is closely followed by notes of green wood and toffee from the Diego Martin casks selected by Joan Roca, American and European. These casks bring to life the generous, reflective and passionate nature of this co-creator. The notes of allspice and ginger come from the European oak Jose Miguel Martin casks selected by Josep Roca which denote his complexity, warmth and maturity. Finally, notes of citrus and light vanilla combine from the American oak Vasyma butts and puncheons chosen by pastry chef Jordi Roca which reflect the lively and vivacious aspects of his larger than life personality.”
If they say so. Here’s what I thought of the whisky…
Macallan Edition Number 2
Nose: Ginger bread, raisins, sultana cake, almonds, sweet berries, and milk chocolate up top, moving to cinnamon, a sweet earthiness and dusty oak. Big and layered.
Palate: Oodles of dark chocolate, cherries, treacle, liquorice and blackberries give way to coffee and a warming wood spice.
Finish: Quite long, with mocha, vanilla pods and chocolate drizzled on cask staves.
Overall: It’s very good. It really is. But, Macallan peeps, just leave it at that. You almost put me off this whisky with your marketing nonsense before I’d even poured the bloody liquid into the glass. By all means show off your collaboration with the Roca brothers, because it hasn’t half created a rather tasty whisky. Just stop trying so hard with your stories and fluffy marketing garb. You *might* find consumers prefer that.