In recent months, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society released a couple of bottles with the identifier 24 on the label. All of ’em got sold out within minutes, if not seconds. The reason for this: In the bottle code system of The SMWS, the number 24 stands for The Macallan, arguably the most prestigious and collectable whisky distillery in the world right now. But that is not all! Besides a widely celebrated place of origin, the drams in question also checked a whole lotta other boxes: They all were strictly limited independent releases with double-maturations in different sherry casks. They all were 12-year-olds that got distilled in 2008. They all came uncolored, unfiltered and undiluted with ABVs well past 60 per cent. And they all cost less than 90 bucks per bottle, which made them absolute no-brainers for Macallan fans and other appreciators of fine Scotch from Speyside. In total, The SMWS released no less than nine such Macs. And I was lucky to score two of these. One of them is still on its way towards me (“24.162 – Sensuous susurration of Spain”), but the other one had already reached me safely a while ago (“24.148 – Effortlessly bold”). No doubt: It would have been nice to put it into the back of my whisky shelf and see its price on the secondary market rise month after month. Yet, I figured there would be an even better option, namely to uncork the bottle and enjoy its content! For this, I was rewarded aplenty – not with money, but with flavor! Cause this super-sought-after single malt Scotch whisky is a real feast for every sherry cask lover! It’s dark, it’s voluminous, it’s finger-licking good. In short: It’s a single cask Macallan from The SMWS!
Eye: Dark mahagony.
Nose: Oh, the opulence! The first association this generously sherried whisky raises in my mind is liquid Black Forest cake: dark chocolate, fluffy cream, brandied cherries and sticky flan base. There’s also a good amount of charred wood and a whiff of sulphur. From underneath, all sorts of sweet notes pierce through, e. g. strawberries, raisins and wine gums. Furthermore, I smell rhubarb, melon and blackcurrant.
Palate: At first, total darkness unfolds in the mouth – starting with black berries and dark cherries; ending with natural licorice and tart choc bonbons. With time, brighter notes of nougat and toffee join in. The same applies to juicy flavors of elderflower, blood orange and bramble. While the very high alcohol strength of close to 64 per cent is certainly apparent during the degustation, the whisky still feels pretty smooth and palatable for such an immense powerhouse. Obviously, the SMWS didn’t call this muscular Mac “Effortlessly bold” for nothing!
Finish: The well-orchestrated finish is of good length. It provides lots of pastry as well as coffee beans, apricots, barley sugar and – again – raisins. In general, the whisky becomes somewhat brighter towards the end. Yet, it does not completely shake off its darkness. I find this “ying and yang”-kinda tasting experience highly rewarding and very exciting!
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Distillery: The Macallan
Region: Scotland (Speyside)
Age: 12 years
Alc. volume: 63.4 per cent
Cask type: 1st fill ex-Oloroso hogshead
# of bottles: 335
Bottle size: 0.7 litres
Price range: ~90.00 Euro
More info: https://www.smws.com/ (Bottler)
*** I bought the bottle myself as a regular customer. ***