The Macallan’s Gems – 1824 Series – Unaged Single Malt Whisky Range

I love the variety of colours in which casks can lend to whisky,  the colours can vary dependant on how long the whisky has been in the cask, with what the cask was seasoned with or in fact what oak the cask was made from.  The shades of gold, yellow, amber, rose, ruby and even liquorice are all charted on a scale from 1 to 60 (ish), and it is using this scale that Macallan has decided to create a range of single malt whiskies based solely on this.

Colours of Whisky

Over the next few weeks Macallan will be launching this brand spanking new series of 4 unaged and beautifully coordinated single malt whiskies.  Imaginatively named after their respective colours, GOLD, AMBER, SIENNA, RUBY – (NB: Gold will only be available in the UK and Canada,  Amber will only be available in Europe and Sienna & Ruby will be available in the UK and internationally) .

Bob Dalgarno

With no added colouring, all four whiskies (in fact every Macallan whisky) enjoy natural colouring coming ONLY from the casks. The Macallan’s expert whisky creator Bob Dalgarno, explained at last weeks media launch, the move to create a range of unaged whiskies has given him a huge, but enjoyable, challenge – enabling him to disregard the age of the liquid available in the many Macallan warehouses and select casks purely based on the whiskies characteristics and colour, disregarding age.  Confident that a switch in mindset to colour over age should enable you to ultimately enjoy better whisky from superior casks.

The four new whiskies will be priced from £35 up to £125 – and YES you are correct, the darker the whisky the more expensive – Bob explained the reasoning behind this method –  “it is purely based on the rationale that the darker the liquid the rarer the casks, so the more expensive the whisky” – not even a whimper of a hint at it’s age …

Do you want to know what they tasted like?

The Macallan Gold | 1824 Series | Unaged | 40% | approx £35

Nose: honey tea, vanilla creamed rice, lightly warmed tea cake, zesty marmalade, lemon sorbet.
Taste: spritely citrus marmalade,, fizzy lemon chews, bitter lemons
Finish: medium, fizzy

The Macallan Amber | 1824 Series | Unaged | 40% | approx £40

Nose: pear drops / stewed apples, dried wood shavings, spicy fruit stew
Taste: orange and honey cough drops, orange rind, bitter, botanical citrus notes
Finish: medium, zesty

The Macallan Sienna | 1824 Series | Unaged | 43% | approx £75

Nose: black and red fruits, cheek watering juicy, ginger spice, musky soapy, plump wet raisins
Taste: ginger snap biscuits, blackcurrant coulis, strawberry jelly/jam, sandalwood incense, bitter grapefruit
Finish: long, warming and spicy

The Macallan Ruby | 1824 Series | Unaged | 43% | approx £125

Nose: burnt Christmas cake, singed orange rind, dark chocolate, coffee syrup, plump fat dates, russian caramels, cloves
Taste: dark chocolate, smooth spicy caramels, espresso double, bitter
Finish: long, spicy, dark / bitter

I am sure Macallan are well aware of the challenge they have ahead of them changing the way we select and form opinions about what is in the bottle and how the pricing structure should work based on age – but the bottom line is Macallan have produced an outstanding Sherry matured single malt whisky range and before we form our opinions just give it a try.

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3 Responses

  1. Jacob says:

    Here’s a cute gimmick: whisky bottled by color. Maybe it will distract customers from noticing they aren’t bothering to mature whisky any more.

    Lots of distillery a are sacrificing age for quantity to satisfy growing demand. They get instant gratification in the profit side but have less stock in the warehouses for bottling at good ages. What we get is cheaper, immature spirit at higher prices.

    And labeling it 1824 series is a ploy to make our minds imagine age and traditional methods, while both are ignored- nice one. But marketing works, so I expect folks will be buying these up. I will wait for a few reviews.

  2. BGK says:

    Um, I don’t think it’s “Unaged”, since scotch per rule has to be aged at least 3 years. It’s just that the bottling (and pricing) are not based on the amount of time it has spent in barrels. Macallan seems to believe that colour is a better indication of maturity, since individual casks can work differently (because of their “rarity”). I buy it, since the casks are hand crafted rather than scientifically engineered in a factory, so there’s gotta be some difference. Besides, I doubt Macallan would throw away their current position of being the best whisky maker for a few quick bucks, or at least I hope so. Can’t wait till they launch it in Pakistan. Can’t wait till they legalize it either. What comes first, egg or hen?
    Catch-22? They can’t launch it until it’s legalized, but how can it be legalized unless they’ve seen some good whisky first. All they’ve seen is Murree’s VAT-1, which is actually (somehow) worse than diesel. Even the imported (read “smuggled”) stuff is pretty terrible – Teachers, Cattos, Grants – drinkable stuff, but barely so, you know, compared to the Macallans and the Glenlivets. Even the corrupt politicians can barely afford Black Label. All (well, almost all) corrupt Paki officials drink Black Label, not for lack of cash, obviously, but a lack of taste, I’m guessing. Anywhoo… somebody’ll probably bring me a few on their way over. Oh, which reminds me! Do you get these at airports? I mean duty frees? Imagine my disappointment when I couldn’t find any low-mid range Macallans at the duty free at Heathrow. The cheapest one was like 500 quid.
    Well, fingers crossed. Election’s coming up. Perhaps the next govt. won’t have its head up its bottom. What am I saying? This is Pakistan. Hasn’t history taught me better than to expect good things? Besides, we probably deserve it.
    Too political for a whisky site? No such thing, in my opinion, but sure, go ahead and delete it. I won’t mind. I just need to vent a little every now and then.
    It’s not all that bad, though. The heroin’s great, you know, if you’re into that. So’s the hash. Actually, we get like the Macallan’s of hash (25yo, at least), super premium stuff, here in Peshawar. So I guess it balances out. Unless you’re a whisky fan, in which case, tough.
    Damnit, gotta stop. But one last thing. Any Paki’s disagree with me, particularly about the unavailability of good scotch in Pk, please, I’m very willing to be educated. Unless your answer is Karachi, which is like, as far from the rest of Pakistan, as Dubai, so why don’t I rather just go there.
    Ok, that’s it. Thanks for reading all that crap, or even for just skipping through to the end.

  3. Andrew says:

    Just reflecting on Mr. Dalgarno’s comment on the “rarer casks”. If your dark casks are so rare and thus NEED to be much more expensive, how are companies such as Glenfarclas and Glendronach able to put out dark whiskies (which are caramel free) that are consistently rated extremely highly by reviewers around the world, at a price that is a fraction of your’s? If a tiny independent company like BenRiach or Glenfarclas can afford to sell dark whiskies cheap, why can’t a multinational conglomerate like the Edrington Group?

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