Released in July of this year, the fourth release in The Macallan Distillery’s ‘Editions Series’ has now had ample time to make its mark and generate opinions among lovers of Macallan whisky and, more broadly, industry folk in general. If you’ve not had a chance to taste it yet, you can order a bottle right here.
Macallan has long been known for its signature sherried style – rich, sweet and full bodied. There liquid is heavy with big flavours of sweet dark fruits, dark chocolate and sticky dates to name a few. Die-hard fans of the distillery love this style and any deviation from it has caused some to worry if their cherished Macallan whisky will ever be the same again. The best example of this has to be the Fine Oak range.
This saw slight deviations from the strictly sherry cask matured releases, with the whisky also spending some time in bourbon oak casks. Folk got mad, they raged online, announced that they were turning their back on the distillery and then, after all the fuss, they finally tasted it.
Opinions were quick to change when they realised that to be an outstanding Macallan whisky, you don’t have to be matured solely in Sherry wood. The Fine Oak range surged in popularity, got excellent ratings from professional critics in industry and the ‘die-hard’ fans of the distillery acted like they’d never been furious at all.
Despite the initial negative feedback, The Macallan’s Master Distiller and workers were undeterred. They released several more additions to the Fine Oak range and now they have taken a step further with their ‘Editions Series’. It’s a bold and stubborn move, but one that appears to be paying off.
Each of the four series releases so far is made up from whisky matured in a wide range of differing casks, taking the distillery further towards innovation. Having said that, they aren’t forgetting where they came from and the signature Macallan notes are still on offer, but the addition of different cask types helps to bring these to the fore surrounded by a plethora of delectable smells, flavours and spices that complement the distillery characteristics perhaps better than those at Macallan could ever have hoped.
So what are the different types of casks used for Edition No.4? Well, when it comes to this latest innovative series, there really is an extraordinary range. In simple terms, a combination of both European and American Oak casks and butts are used. That means both sherry and bourbon. But when we take a closer look, the sheer amount of precision and careful selection that has gone into choosing particularly good wood is nothing short of extraordinary.
Hand Selected Casks
A whopping seven different types of cask are used for maturation in Edition No.4 and the Edition series in general. These are carefully sourced with a good deal of help from the Roca brothers, the founders of the El Celler De La Roca in north-eastern Spain, a restaurant that has twice been named best in the world.
The brothers worked with Bob Dalgarno, the Macallan Master Whisky Maker, to hand-pick casks from four different bodegas; Vasyma, Diego Martin, Jose Miguel Martin and Tevasa, all of which are experts in cask crafting.
The theory behind the process is to explore the effects of the different casks on Macallan whisky and bring a greater range of notes to the spirit than had previously been experienced in their releases.
The collaboration is an extremely powerful one that has resulted in some incredible whiskies, but in our opinion, the best of these is the new Edition No.4.
Edition No.4 makes itself known with signature Macallan sherried flavours.
Walnuts, toasted almonds, citrus peel and sweet baked apples get the journey up and running.
A very rich palate follows with luxurious dark chocolate, cinnamon, sautéed black pepper and spicy oak. This gradually makes way for a lighter and fruitier character with candied peels and toffee apples being the most obvious (the effects of the American Oak).
The finish is quite dry and full of spice. Here, the complexity of the dram is on full show with hints of dates, sherry, more citrus, nutmeg, cardamom and a tingling peppery spice coming through at the end.
It’s a sherry bomb with obvious but subtle influences from the bourbon cask, but it’s certainly not a sherried Macallan as we know it. The sheer range of different spices on offer is something that is undoubtedly a reflection of the dedication to wood selection and a result of the seven different cask types that were used, and it’s a welcome and delicious leap in the right direction for the legendary distillery.
It’s abundantly clear that those behind whisky production and wood management at The Macallan are leading experts in their field. The fact that this dram comes together without any hiccups and delivers a tasting experience that is like no other Speyside dram on the market is a testament to that and definitely something worth celebrating.
To get your hands on this fine whisky, click here. Delivered Worldwide.