Review: Macallan Cask Strength

Macallan Cask Strength 58.4%

I waited a long time to a do a review of this Scotch.  It was somewhat of a Unicorn for me as I got into scotch long after it was discontinued.  As such, I never dreamed of getting a chance of this wonderful dram.  This bucket list scotch experience came out of the generosity of a member of the TWS!

I reviewed (and of course tasted) five drams to establish a baseline before having the Macallan Cask Strength.  Poor me.  The five mentioned consisted of the Aberlour A’bunadh Batch 53, Glenfarclas 105, Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso, Glenfarclas 105 – 20 Year Old and GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 4.

I also tried not to read too many reviews in order to remain as unbiased as possible.  Lets get to it shall we?

  • Region: Speyside
  • Abv: 58.4%
  • Colour: Tawny – by far the darkest of all the sherry bombs thus far.

Nose: The Macallan Cask Strength once carried a 10 year age statement, but with the removal of said statement, I would assume that there is some younger juice here which would explain the youthful burn from the first nosing. This is not to say that this is a bad thing at all. Once this settled down a little the deep sherry notes were more evident. Very fruity (think cherries and strawberries). Gentle floral note which lends an air of refinement and complexity. I do think this will really benefit from some water to bring it down to a more manageable ABV.

With water, it is definitely gentler and I get strong notes of red jolly rancher, the core baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), and strawberry jam. The floral note fades to the background a bit but is definitely still there. Warm caramel, which amps up the richness of this nose over time. Powdered sugar. With time I get this fragrant apple note that seems to dominate; It’s a very specific smell that I have only ever smelled when apple picking in the fall. Fragrant with apple juice, but also this floral note which comes off the skin of a freshly picked apple. God it feels good to finally pin that note down. Caramel which reminds me of some GlenDronach Single Casks I’ve had. This can be summed up as freshly picked ambrosia apples dipped in warm caramel.

Taste: Quite rich with toffee and coffee cake. Red fruits are still present but take more of a back seat (more like dried red fruits) This has been the hardest to nail down. There is so much going on at once and it is so intense that it’s tough to pick out specific notes. With time, this opened up a lot and settled down. I think that while there could be some younger malt in here, there is definitely a good portion which is older juice which has been aged in high quality barrels. The floral notes are now more prominent and follows the nose.

Finish: Caramel apple dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg. Quite long on the finish, which turns to coffee cake with toffee chips. Now it’s like I’ve eaten a coffee hard candy and one of those strawberry hard candies (the ones with the strawberry wrapper) at the same time. After some time, stewed apple sauce with a pinch of cinnamon. Kinder-egg chocolate comes quite strongly.

Score: 92/100

Notes: To compare I poured a bit of the standard Glenfarclas 105 and Glenlivet Nadurra.  The “side-by-side” does confirm my score, and also lends further support to just how complex the Macallan is in comparison. I don’t want anyone to think that the others are bad. They are not, full stop. This Macallan is just much better.

This opened up  incredibly with time. I think my score speaks for itself. This is the clear King of sherry bombs to me. The floral and apple notes took this to another level and really contrasted the darker sherry and toffee notes. I don’t think I have too much to add other than to say that this is damn good once it opens up.

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