Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Big Mac Daddy - Macallan 30

Macallan is one of the most storied single malts. The consummate sherried malt, it's one of the only widely popular malts that is also well respected among whisky geeks. Now, personally, I've never been a huge Macallan devotee, but I generally like the stuff, so when one of my whisky pals and blog commenters, the Regular Chumpington, offered me a sample of the 30 year old, I was more than happy to accept (he also took the professional quality bottle shot to the right - and see his own thoughts on Mac 30 on his new blog).

The Macallan 30 is 43% and goes for a whoppin' $1,000. Needless to say, I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately, I was disappointed.

The nose had grape juice and sweet sherry. The palate was quite sweet with sherry and soap and the finish went fruity. The whole thing was rather thin and lacking in complexity. When you pay $1,000 for a bottle of whisky (well, even when someone else pays $1,000 for it), you expect something profound. You expect to take pages and pages of notes, trying to document the complexities, the deep flavor profile, the ethereal notes that are hard to pin down. None of that was here. In fact, while I didn't do a side by side, my recollection is that the 18 year old is more complex on the palate that this one.

Now don't get me wrong. It wasn't a bad whisky. It was perfectly drinkable, but when you get up to the four figures (or even the three figures), you demand a lot more than something that is unobjectionable.

It seems like Macallan just phoned it in. Hey, they know people will pay huge bucks for a Macallan 30, so dump whatever old, imperfect casks they've got and bottle it up. Very disappointing. Come on Macallan, you can do better than that.

1 comment:

Regular Chumpington said...

This malt is so frustrating for me. I really feel like it can and should be more. For better or worse, Macallan has a certain something to me. It's the whisky that opened my eyes to the possibilities of single malts. The 12 is a standard for me and a can't-miss safe option. The 18 rarely disappoints as well.

I've obviously gone into some detail on my blog (thanks for the nod!) but you're right: I come away wishing there was more. Even as a straightforward sherried malt, you hope that the age will impart more to the spirit and just give depth. I kept thinking the accompaniment to this would be mashed potatoes and turkey gravy, though. It just lacks dimension, depth or any sort of heft.

I don't think everything needs to be a cask strength, raging peat monster from the darkest corners of Islay, but you'd think Macallan could, as you say, put a little more effort into this one. I saw today that they were shipping more to the US... and it looks like they put all the focus on the bottle and box. Even their notes are quite straightforward on this one.

It's a disappointment.. and as something of a fan I wish it was more. But after all the buildup to this one, it kind of has the disappointment of a new Star Wars movie... I guess a few decades doesn't make everything better.