Launched in 2009 and exclusive to duty free / travel retail, the 1824 whiskies were created by Macallan's Bob Dalgarno, together with John Ramsay of Glenrothes fame (both distilleries being part of the Edrington group). Coined the "1824 Collection" in reference to the distillery's age, the whiskies included four non chill filtered expressions (it's not certain whether "Oscuro" will also be discontinued), each with its own character and price point. However, to buy them you needed an airplane ticket.
When it comes to Single Malt Scotch, Travel Retail outlets aren't synonymous with the highest calibre bottlings. For anyone concerned with quality and flavour, not just cheap alcohol, they tend to arouse suspicion. More than a few "Travel Exclusives" have left an impression that the producer was simply dumping average malt on transient buyers who in turn, were primarily concerned with lower prices. One can't over generalise here. On the flip side, we've tasted some outstanding Travel Retail releases too. By all reports, these Macallans fall into the latter category.
William Ovens, who's in charge of part of Edrington Group's Travel Retail section commented on the range as being "... positively embraced by whisky experts and connoisseurs. In fact the Collection is the highest scoring new product range ever released by The Macallan".
John Hansell of maltadvocate.com, who is a notoriously hard marker, was impressed, going all the way to 95 points on the Estate Reserve.
A brief survey of some of the UK's best Whisky outlets suggests that these whiskies are now largely sold out. We've managed to sneak small quantities into Australia at very, very reasonable prices (we've seen the "Estate Reserve" retailing here for well over $400!)