lately I’ve been beating the TR market and the late trends it’s going through. But not all new TR exclusive whiskies are bad. Macallan has been doing some good TR exclusive releases for a while but even those come with issues of their own.
For example, the Macallan Rare Cask Black lacks transparency big time. The bottle itself is opaque and you can’t gauge how much whisky left in the bottle and also lacks transparency for the liquid inside – we don’t know much about the whisky. Yes, it’s somewhat peated (either the result of peated malt or usage of casks that held sherry and peated whisky in the past), and there are less than 100 such casks in Macallan warehouses. But how many of those were used here? what about casks information?
I don’t think that additional transparency will hurt sales. I understand Macallan’s decision to go the taste-is-the-only-thing-that-matter route they chose in the last few years but I don’t have to like it as I like my whisky to be less mysterious, especially when they ask consumers to pay $450 for said bottle. Does it justify that price tag?
Macallan Rare Cask Black (48%, $450 RRP)
Nose: Macallan? Are you sure? It smells like sherried Highland park to me. Peat smoke, lots of sherry goodness, There were multiple casks involved in creating this whisky but I bet there were a lots of Spanish wood casks in the mix. Prunes, dried fruit, gentle nutmeg and to lesser extent cinnamon, quite a fresh and polished nose. With time it gets sweeter and further sherried but still keeping the fresh theme and not going into cloying territory, spicy with a nice dose of white pepper, a bit of dust, cloves, gentle smoke going through all the time.
Palate: Dried fruit, smoke, spicy, less polished than the nose, you could say there’s a rough stroke here, nutmeg, sour-y and less sweet dried fruit, dry, dust, cloves, bitterness, a gentle almost non existing peat note.
Finish: Medium length, a touch of wood, nutmeg and cloves, dust, dry, lingering dried fruit and weak smoke.
Thoughts: There’s no denying it’s a good whisky. It’s a well crafted whisky showing off a special treat to Macallan lovers. But, yes there’s a but here, I don’t think it’s in a good position on the VFM scale. For $450 there are so many other good purchase choices and some are far superior to this one. The lack of transparency here also demotes it even further in my purchase totem as I can’t envision myself spending such amount of money on a whisky I don’t know anything about unless it’s one of those rare whiskies that enthrall you to buy it no matter what. To sum it up: It’s a whisky for Macallan lovers (and collectors) only.