The Macallan Edition No. 1 marks the opening chapter in a new limited-edition series of whiskies distilled and bottled by The Macallan which will be released annually. Master whisky maker Bob Dalgarno has clearly taken great pains to develop a signature finishing process, which is described on the box housing Edition No. 1. It reads as equal parts laboratory notes and family recipe, detailing the eight – yes, eight – European and American oak cask styles and sizes used in the maturation process.
For the curious, here are the specific cask details, courtesy of a list from a retailer:
- 1st Fill European Tevasa Butts- Green timber/clean oak
- 1st Fill European Hudosa Butts- Soft oak notes
- 1st Fill American Vasyma Puncheons- Beeswax/new furniture polish
- 1st Fill European Miguel Martin Butts- Dry, ginger, spice
- 1st Fill European Gonzalez Byass Butts- Clean oak, green apple fruitiness
- 1st Fill European Tevasa Puncheons- Resinous oak
- 2nd Fill European Sherry Hogsheads- Less intense spice & citrus orange
- 2nd Fill European Sherry Butts- Softer tannins & dried fruits
The folks at The Macallan clearly want it understood that their wood selection is to take center stage as they usher in this new annual line. Nowhere is this more readily apparent than from the muted brown label and box containing Edition No. 1. The release is also bottled at a somewhat higher-than-standard proof, 48% alcohol by volume. There is no age statement to be found on the box or label, though I fully admit I have not tried cutting this whisky in half and counting the rings.
Tasting Notes: The Macallan Edition No. 1
Vital Stats: 48% ABV (96 proof), no age statement, 100% malted barley, $95-130 per 750 ml bottle.
Appearance: Vibrant amber, strong legs.
Nose: Oak right off the bat, and lots of it. Solvent notes from the higher alcohol content. Subtle malt, followed by more oak.
Palate: Honey and melon sweetness quickly transitions into spice, nutmeg, and ground peppercorn, with oak present throughout but not overwhelmingly so. Notes of bitter orange chocolate candy. The finish has a lingering yet gentle burn, oak tones, aftertaste of overcooked popcorn. Spice continues after the burn. Very satisfying finish. The highlight of the dram, in my experience.
Lovers of oaky whiskies will undoubtedly enjoy pouring over the information included with this bottling. While there is a good amount of oak present in the palate, it is not oaked to the point of being obtrusive. All the flavors are represented well, resulting in a whisky that is richer than I was expecting.
While it is competently made and the included literature makes for an interesting read, I have a hard time finding Edition No. 1 exceptional on its own. Combined with what some would consider to be a borderline premium price point makes for a difficult sell.
FINAL SCORE: 80/100