The Bottom Line
- A rich collection of sweeter Scotches that spans a range of prices and tastes.
- Impressive comparisons of the characteristics different casks give to Scotch during aging.
- Select Oak and Whisky Maker's are great for finely crafted Scotch cocktails.
- Only available in select American, European and the Singapore airport's travel retail stores.
- Single malt Scotch collection finished in various types of casks.
- Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno; Master of Wood, George Espie; Master Blender Emeritus (The Edrington Group), John Ramsay
- Released in 2009
- Bottled at 40% or 48% alc/volume (80-96 proof)
- Retail between $53-2000
Guide Review - The Macallan 1824 Collection of Single Malt Scotch Whisky
The Macallan Select Oak:
One thing you will notice in all of The Macallan Scotch is that it is not as smoky as others so this is a great introduction to the category of whiskey and the Select Oak is a fine, reasonably priced ($53/liter) beginner's Scotch. While this single malt uses three different casks including sherry- or bourbon-seasoned American oak, a higher portion comes from first-fill sherry oak that are selected by The Macallan's Master of Wood, George Espie. At 80 proof, this bottling has a sweet nose marked with vanilla and butterscotch that follows through to the taste where it is backed by spice. It finishes semi-sweet and pleasurably long, but not exhaustively so.
The Macallan Whisky Maker's Edition:
The Whisky Maker's bottling is a little more interesting than its more economical counterpart, though it is still reasonable at $99/liter. This Scotch is special because it contains whisky distilled from barley grown on the estate and is bottled at Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno's preferred 42.8% strength. Here you will find more fruits along with ginger, clove and nutmeg in the aroma while the palate is filled with velvety sophistication with spice, fruit and subtle peaty-oak notes. It is a remarkable Scotch that is complex but well-done and has a dryness that should be relished.
The Macallan Estate Reserve:
If you are looking for a Scotch with a deep character and intense palate, the Estate Reserve will be a great choice from the 1824 Collection. It gets its life from a selection of special casks that include sherry oak and a handful of American bourbon, but features traditional sherry-seasoned hogshead casks. The whisky is non-chill filtered, bottled at 40% and sells for $165/700ml. In comparison to the other two, one will notice a magnitude of flavor and great depth, though the fragrance alludes to something softer and sweeter with fruits, ginger, vanilla and citrus playing large roles. The palate is consumed with citrus and wood in a rich texture that is quite seductive and the finish takes a fascinating turn to the spicy side.
The Macallan 1824 Limited Release:
This is a very limited edition bottling, so much that I did not get to sample it. It is, however, highly rated and each year it tastes different. At 48% alc/volume and aged exclusively in sherry-seasoned, Spanish oak casks, it's priced at $2000 for a 700ml bottle.
1824 Collection Thoughts:
Overall, this series of bottles from The Macallan are fine testaments to the distillery's character despite being noticeably diverse. At each price point the distillery has created a quality product that Scotch lovers and newbies alike will find intriguing. While all make fantastic sipping Scotches, I would hesitate to mix the Estate Reserve, though the other two would be superb in some of the finer Scotch cocktails. The one unfortunate aspect is the limited availability of such a fine collection, though it is an incentive to do some between flight shopping if you are in the right place.