Having tried three 12 year old whiskies from Macallan fairly recently the one big issue I had was the price. In this review we consider the Non-Age Statement Gold expression to see if there is value to be had at the bottom rung of the ladder.
The Macallan distillery has been producing whisky since 1824. The site is situated on a picturesque estate in Craigellachie.
The site is currently well under construction to build a large and expensive new facility on the grounds of the estate. This modern and contemporary construction is said to have extensibility built in using the concept of cells.
In the image above each little hill is a production cell built into the landscape on the grounds. You can see how a new cell could easily be built in the future and grassed over to provide consistency. A cut out diagram of a cell is shown below from the construction companies website:
The Macallan gold has been on the market since 2012 and has attracted a fair amount of criticism in reviews for years. This bottle and others like it are held up as examples of cynical attempts by producers to increase prices while reducing the average age of whisky in the bottle.
The information we do know about this bottle is that it is natural colour, chill-filtered and bottled at 40% ABV. This is a widely available bottle available in most supermarkets in the UK. Specialist retailers also have it in abundance for £37.45
The casks in the recipe are all sherry casks from Spain so the natural comparison to make is how does this compare to the 12 year old Sherry Oak at around £70 in the UK?
Colour – amber
Nose – This is both sickly sweet and drying. Lots of fruit cake, earl grey tea and brandied cherries.
Palate – milk chocolate drops and orange peel. The texture is fairly thin though and there is a hollowness to the mid palate.
Finish – Again the finish is fairly short and fleeting. What does appear though mirrors the nose but it’s not quite as intense as the nose might have promised us.
The short answer here is that for half the price of an “equivalent” (ish) 12 year old bottle of Macallan the Gold expression gets you way more than half the flavour. It does have some draw backs over the 12 of course. The most noticeable difference is the lack of any spice from the wood in the flavour profile. That hollowness in the palate is not in the 12 but £70 is not providing any kind of value for me so Macallan drinkers would be advised to stick to the 1824 series until Edrington gets their act together on price.
However, with their new distillery costing a reported £100 million we will all have quite a while to wait I suspect.