The Macallan is one of the great distilleries in Scotland. They began distilling whisky along the Spey River in the Scottish Highlands in 1824 and have been producing phenomenal whiskies ever since.
In 2009, the distillery released a special series that pays tribute to the venerable age of the facility. The Macallan 1824 Collection is a fascinating assembly of four whiskies, each with their own character and in a range of prices.
However, to find one of these you need to travel because they are distributed exclusively to the "Global Travel Retail" market. So the next flight you take should include an extra stop. (There is the occasional sighting on a handful of online stores.)
The Macallan Select Oak
One thing you will notice in all of The Macallan Scotch is that it is not as smoky as others so this is a great introduction to this whisky category. The Select Oak is a fine, reasonably priced ($73/700ml bottle) beginner's Scotch.
While this single malt uses three different casks, including sherry or bourbon-seasoned American oak, a higher portion comes from first-fill sherry oak that is selected by The Macallan's Master of Wood, George Espie.
At 80 proof, this bottling has a sweet nose marked with vanilla and butterscotch that follows through to the taste where it is backed by spice. It finishes semi-sweet and pleasurably long, but not exhaustively so.
The Macallan Whisky Maker's Edition
The Whisky Maker's bottling is a little more interesting than its more economical counterpart and it is still reasonable at $99 per 700ml bottle. It is a phenomenal example of a great Speyside Scotch.
This Scotch is special because it contains whisky distilled from barley grown on the estate. It is also bottled at Whisky Maker Bob Dalgarno's preferred 42.8% strength, making it a little bolder than the average 40% Scotch
Here, you will find more fruits along with ginger, clove and nutmeg in the aroma while the palate is filled with velvety sophistication with spice, fruit and subtle peaty-oak notes. It is a remarkable Scotch that is complex but remains approachable and has a dryness that should be relished.
The Macallan Estate Reserve
If you are looking for a Scotch with a deep character and intense palate, the Estate Reserve will be a great choice from the 1824 Collection.
It gets its life from a selection of special casks that include sherry oak and a handful of American bourbon but features traditional sherry-seasoned hogshead casks. The whisky is non-chill filtered, bottled at 40% and sells for $235/700ml.
In comparison to the other two, one will notice a magnitude of flavor and great depth, though the fragrance alludes to something softer and sweeter with fruits, ginger, vanilla and citrus playing large roles. The palate is consumed with citrus and wood in a rich texture that is quite seductive and the finish takes a fascinating turn to the spicy side.
The Macallan 1824 Limited Release
This is a very limited edition bottling, so much that I did not get to sample it. It is, however, highly rated and each year it tastes different.
At 48% ABV and aged exclusively in sherry-seasoned, Spanish oak casks. It's priced at $2000 for a 700ml bottle.
Final Thoughts on The 1824 Collection
Overall, this series of bottles from The Macallan are fine testaments to the distillery's character despite being noticeably diverse. At each price point, the distillery has created a quality product that Scotch lovers and newbies alike will find intriguing.
While all make fantastic sipping Scotches, I would hesitate to mix the Estate Reserve, though the other two would be superb in some of the finer Scotch cocktails.
The one unfortunate aspect is the limited availability of such a fine collection. It is, however, an incentive to do some shopping between flights if you are in the right place.
As of 2016, there is a new selection of Scotch in "The 1824 Series" from The Macallan. Bottles from 2009's 1824 Collection that are reviewed here are still available though you will likely find that their prices have increased.
As often happens with whisky of this caliber, the cost will rise as a bottling becomes harder to find and supplies run dry. Many of the prices I listed above for 750ml bottles were what a liter sold for when I first reviewed these whiskies.
About The Macallan 1824 Collection of Scotch Whiskies
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