Reviews Published

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Mighty Macallan

It’s been a while since I last updated my Single Malt Diary, but you know how it is: so many whiskies, so little time.

I lost track a year ago in South Africa, when I was kindly invited to a Whisky Tasting Festival. It was a dream come true, an experience I have since fantasised about over and over again. It was an orgy of pure malts, politically incorrect blends and crossing the culture boundaries from Scotland to Ireland. And as with any orgy, I’m now a classic case of I’m-so-sorry-I-know-I’ve-had-you-but-I-can’t-remember-your-name (although I am confident that I could tell the Irish from the Scottish blindfolded).

The orgy, gratifying as it was, only confirmed my opinion that Lagavulin is my favourite and my best, the perfect combination of arrogance and sweetness. Last month, however, my loyalty was sorely tested.

The contender was Macallan, an unassuming-looking Speyside single malt. Its marketing blurb is that they mature their core in 100% sherry oak barrels, which, though interesting, hardly makes the earth move for me.

Nevertheless, a single malt is a single malt, even more desirable when offered during a bridge evening by a sexy guy in tight jeans. I succumbed. I tasted. I may have moaned.

My preference is for peaty, and the Macallan tends towards the sweet, yet the complexity of flavours is so overwhelming that it honestly doesn’t need the darker side. [And here is an aside: tell me what whisky you love and I’ll make sweeping psycho-babble statements about the kind of lover you are.]

Yes, I was impressed enough with the Macallan 12. The 18 is another story... and it’s x-rated.

Here is a teaser, though, from the Macallan website (marketing department, please note: I will accept gifts and review samples):

Tasting notes:
Colour: Light Mahogany.
Nose: Dried fruits and ginger with hints of citrus, vanilla and cinnamon.
Palate: Rich dried fruits, spice, clove, orange and wood smoke.
Finish: Full dried fruits and sweet toffee, with a hint of ginger and wood smoke.

PS: It’s fortunate that I tasted the rare Double Matured Lagavulin on the same night as the 18-year old (... Macallan). The verdict? Lagavulin still rules my mouth.

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