Amber forms part of the recent No Age Statement (NAS) range
from The Macallan known as the 1824 series, which for the unaware means this range of whiskies won’t
tell you anything about how long they have been maturing in the cask. This can
be a double edged sword as in my experience for every worthwhile NAS release
there are five that are worth avoiding; not a great ratio in this age of
production efficiency and consistency.
The Macallan pride themselves on the quality of their casks
and in general restrict themselves to using the cask just once unless it is an
extremely good example. In theory this means more flavours are introduced into
the maturing spirit in that concentrated period. Thereby using this logic a
younger Macallan will offer more than offer distilleries of the same age.
On the tour I took at the distillery, I was informed that
generally the ages of the whiskies going into this NAS range can start at 6-7
years. That does sound good doesn’t it? That’s part of the problem with NAS is
the air of secrecy that surrounds each release becoming a witch’s brew with
rumours and speculation that as a consumer should be cleared up by clear and
It is great chat to hear a 29 year old cask going into the
vatting for a NAS release but I suspect that was more likely to be the
ultra-expensive Ruby NAS version rather than Amber, which is pitched more at
the beginner level. Given that many of these NAS releases can retail at the
same price level as many single malts or in some cases way beyond, it is a
minefield for the whisky drinker. Many of these linger in travel retail as
exclusives waiting to snare unsuspecting travellers but we are seeing more NAS
in mainstream channels with fancier packaging and rising price tags.
This Macallan range was influenced by the desire to create a
colour coordinated range that signified the colour of the spirit. I like to
think of it as the ideal companion to the iphone generation; many of whom are
obsessed with design and prestige rather than practicality. Amber is never the
most inspiring of colours often a middle phase between a raging red and the
full on green you see on UK traffic lights.
Time for my tasting notes:
Additional: no colouring but I’d expect chill filtration has
Cask: A combination of oak and sherry casks
Price: this does seem to vary around £40-£45
Colour: Possibly amber but more hay with a surprising hint
Aroma: Oranges, an oaky note, crushed nuts mainly peanuts
and a sweetness of almond.
Taste: The oranges carry
through to the palate as does that oaky woody note. Followed by a thump of
honey and vanilla sweetness before a very watery and lacking finish.
If this retailed at half the price I’d be a little more
forgiving but pitched around £40 your expectations on raised and the actual
experience is disappointing. In reality Amber is an oddity, a NAS created I
feel for those starting out in whisky particularly in foreign markets. It has a
watery refreshing experience that would go well as a mixer or in a hot climate.
For those of us in Scotland or wanting a little more oomph from their whisky
this isn’t anywhere near an acceptable benchmark.
Labels: macallan, Macallan Amber, review, taste, The Macallan 1824 Series, whisky