The Macallan Rare Cask Red Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml) - Old packaging
Note: Product has come from a private collection and as such has some minor scuffing/scratches/handling marks. Actual product not pictured.
Yet another expression where a big brand Scotch is taking age out of the equation, letting the liquid (not the number on the label) do the selling. Launched in the US in late 2014, Macallan Rare Cask is drawn from 16 different hand picked sherry-casks, the majority of which are first fill. The Sherry input is reportedly quite profound, so expect a bigger, richer expression.
"Whisky obviously has an age, we just don't publicize it here," says Stuart MacPherson, the Macallan Master of Wood. "This is something the whisky industry created in the early 20th century, where we put an age on it to make the whisky easier for the customer to identify. We're taking things a step forward and saying this isn't about the age, it's about what the consumer wants and the skills of the whisky maker."
While Macallan will not disclose the age of the various whiskies in the mix, their theory is that by not being tied to a number on the label, Master Distiller, Bob Dalgarno can work to taste, not to age, and so do some of his finest work.
Described by one taster as "a ruby red wow of a whisky" and another as "a Macallan fit for Kings", this certainly seems to have hit the sweet spot for many veterans of the brand on the web. The stunning colour is highlighted by a sculpted, heavy glass decanter and red presentation box.
Tasting note: Deep copper coin colour. Sherried, but not in a profound way, with a little more pepper than the traditional 18YO. Give it plenty of time in the glass to let the aroma fill out. Spice and peel on entry, but gains richness and typical Macallan polish towards the finish: Shortbread, dark chocolate, fruit cake and cinnamon flavours emerge as well as whispers of smoke. Elegant and slightly leaner Macallan. Tastes like some Fino barrels could be in the mix? 43% Alc./Vol.
Other reviews... One of these very embarrassing newish NAS bottlings, ridden with stories about oak and sherry – and laudatory adjectives – but in fact, it’s all a thick smokescreen of claims, there’s nothing certain. Only the price ‘may’ tell us where it sits... But can you trust a price tag? Colour: amber. Nose: an earthy and slightly smoky sherry that reminds me of the older 8 or 12, with raisins, kirsch, Seville oranges, chocolate, chestnut honey and then cinnamon, cloves, mint, and nutmeg. It doesn’t feel very old, but I’d call this ‘classic’. Mouth: indeed, the older 12+. Quite a lot of bitter oranges and honey in the arrival, then this very peculiar toffeeness plus Corinthian raisins, pipe tobacco, liqueur-filled chocolate, and a touch of vanilla fudge. Millionaire shortbread. Good body. Finish: medium, very well balanced I have to say, rather on marmalade this time. Honeyed and moderately spicy aftertaste. Comments: seriously, I think this is very good, and probably much more ‘Macallan’ than other newish bottlings. Great work, only the price is a little, well, you know what a mean.
87 points - Serge Valentin, whiskyfun.com