onsdag 18 april 2018

The Macallan – Limited Edition 2017 – Classic Cut 58,4% ABV!

Dear friends, followers and supporters alike! When working the beer and whiskyfestival in Gothenburg (for Edrington) about two weeks ago, I gladly noticed that we had a new expression of The Macallan with us in the stand! The name of this new Macallan is ”Classic Cut”. Being very lucky indeed I was allowed to draw a small sample for reviewing, so today I share with you my thoughts and impressions of it!

So, what do we know about this new expression of Macallan? First of all we know that it has been bottled at 58,4% ABV. This fact, taken together with the design and colour of the label and the box suggests that the distillery and branding department wants us to associate this release to their previsous cask strength bottlings (which have both been bottled as 10 years old and more recently as NAS). Also, taking a look at the distillery website it is clear that the whisky has been bottled at natural colour and that it has been matured in a combination of American and European ”oak casks seasoned with Oloroso sherry from Jerez, Spain”. 

What is however not known to the consumers is if the casks used are 1st-fill, 2nd-fill etcetera, nor what the size(es) of the casks used are. In addition it is not known to consumers if the strength is in fact proper cask strength, or vatting strength, or if the strength has been reached by dillution (by watering it to this specific strength). 

From the distillery website we also know that this edition of Classic Cut is a Limited Edition for 2017. So what does ”limited” mean in this case? First of all, from surfing the web I have found sources who state that the number of bottles are limited to 90000 world wide. I have also found sources who state that Classic Cut is a one-off, never to be repeated again

In order to try and find out in what way this truly is a limited edition, I contacted my good friend Mattias Skoog, the Nordic Brand Ambassador for The Macallan (and for Highland Park). He told me that there in fact will be a Classic Cut 2018, another Classic Cut in 2019, and (probably) so on! So what does all this talk of one-off, never to be repeated again really mean? Well, Mattias was also kind enough to send me a document (a so called Sell Sheet) which holds info that shines a light on this question. The document states: ”This special and memorable flavour profile will never be repeated” and ”…this particular whisky profile will never be repeated”. Aha, it is the profile that will never be repeated again! And what is the flavour profile in question? Well, the box clearly states ”Creamy vanilla, sweet ginger, warming oak”, which I interpret to be the flavor profile for this version of CC.

In conclusion, this most likely means that the next CC (2018) will have another flavour profile, so will also the next CC haveThis probably means that the composition of casks used will vary from edition to edition. All of this makes it clear what, on the distillery website, is meant by the statement that this edition of Classic Cut is the first release in ”a [new] series of annual expressions”.

Borrowed from robbreport.com
Here in Sweden, the CC 2017 will be available this Friday (20th of April) at the state monopoly and you can view it by clicking here. Ok, now that we have sorted out all of the details, let’s investigate the whisky itself!

Holding the glass a couple of centimetres from my nose, I get really mellow medium-dark moist raisins with elements of lightly vanilla-infused honey, definitely coupled with cacao (drawing towards a bar of milk chocolate). There is also very slight traces of cold coffee. At this distance everything is soo soft, and it is not until I put my nose in the glass that I actually feel the high strength. Nosing some more with my nose really in the glass, in the very top layer of the nose I get a prominent mix of sweet and sour drawing very close to mashed red grapes. Below this layer I find sugar zyrup made from raw-sugar, together with quite fat vanilla (medium-dark fudge). Below that, in the bottom layer, I get very slight traces of oven-baked slices of apple, intermingling with medium-dark marzipan.

Taking a tiny sip it all starts of soo sweet and smooth (which for me is incredible at this strength), the taste is definitely dominated by ”dark” tastes, in fact much darker profile on the taste than on the nose. In the initial sweetness and smoothness I find all the tastes that I expect from a sherry matured non-peated whisky; especially dark raisins and moist dried figs. Aside from that we have drizzling honey, the sugar zyrup made of raw sugar, and even a touch of leather-y notes. It is not until taking a bigger sip that I find a quite robust strength together with a slight layer of almond paste. Then the taste evolves slowly and gets below medium-dry, than even drier, almost drying my mouth now (from something tannin-esque). In the aftertaste I get slight traces of bitter almond intermingling with slight traces of vanilla. 

To sum up:
This whisky definitely tastes as being well and above 10 years old. In terms of recipe my impression is that european oak sherry casks dominate in the mix. I would describe this dram as a ”light” sherry bomb, not because it in any way is ”watery” or wimpish, but because it never gets out of hand or, so to speak, goes crazy; the recipe has obviously been weighed very carefully, I might even say with a great deal of brilliance. Obviously the whisky maker has aimed for drinkability for the big whisky drinking audience, and has indeed managed to achieve just that! All in all a great dram for a good value/price, well done! I really look forward for to the next releases of CC and to find out what their respective flavour profiles will be!

Big thanks to Edrington for the great opportunity to review this whisky before its release! Please make sure to follow my FB-page by clicking here, my instagram by clicking here, and my twitter-page by clicking here. Copyright © and All Rights Reserved on all tasting notes and text by SamuelWhisky and pictures likewise belong to SamuelWhisky, unless stated. If you would like to use any such material that belongs to SamuelWhisky or associated with SamuelWhisky, please ask by sending me an email to samuelkarlssonorebro [at] gmail dot com and by stating the source

Borrowed from systembolaget.se

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