Thursday 10 October 2013

PR #14: The Macallan 1824 Series launches in Australia from November

The Macallan has always a bit of an odd one for me. When I was first getting into Scotch, I'll admit I wasn't a huge fan. Even when pulling together my #101drams list, I included the 21yo Macallan as the previous ones I'd tried I hadn't been hugely fond of (not that they were bad whiskies, just not up there with my favourites). That was before the 1824 Series though.

Anyone who's been following the world of Scotch Whisky lately (or anyone who's been to a decent bar in a major city in the past 3 years really!) would know that whisky (Scottish single malt in particular) has experienced a huge rise in popularity. As a result stocks of aged malt whisky have been reduced, to the point where distillers have realised something needs to be done, lest they run out of aged whiskies in the near future (terrible thought, I know).

The answer? NAS (No Age Statement) whiskies. Whilst not a new thing, Macallan are the first major Scottish distillery to release a core range with no age statements (and others are following suit). Previously NAS Scottish whiskies have either been from smaller distilleries, or special releases like the excellent The Balvenie TUN1401.

NAS doesn't necessarily mean "young" (in fact, I'd hazard a guess that there are some seriously old whiskies in the new 1824 series, especially in the Sienna and Ruby). The thing is, with whisky, an age statement has to refer to the youngest whisky in the bottle. If you bottled a Macallan which contained 95% of its content from a 50yo cask, and 5% from an 8yo cask, guess what? That's an "8 year old" whisky. You can see why NAS is a growing trend.

At Oak Barrel's Whisky Fair 2013 recently, I was lucky enough to try the range ahead of its Australian release. While I didn't take any notes (detailed tasting notes to be posted in the coming months when I taste the range again), I did remember the Sienna and Ruby as seriously enjoyable whiskies - especially the Sienna.

..but enough from me. Here's some more info on the whiskies from Beam/CCA:

The Macallan has unveiled The 1824 Series, a range showcasing two of its greatest strengths; oak sherry casks and natural colour. The luxury single malt whisky brand, distributed by Beam Global Australia, is delighted to launch three expressions in October including Amber, Sienna and Ruby. 
Grounded in an unwavering commitment to sourcing the very best oak sherry casks, the most expensive in the industry, The 1824 Series showcases the signature style of The Macallan, embracing the defining elements which have made it one of the world’s truly great single malts. 
Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, has created expressions by identifying the natural colour formed during maturation in different casks types to create the character informed by these colours. The expressions are Amber, Sienna and Ruby, all names reflecting the actual colour of the whiskies in the range, but also describing naturally occurring mineral and metals. 
This innovative approach to whisky making is the first to derive the final character from the natural colours drawn into The Macallan from the oak sherry casks over the years of maturation. It has allowed Bob Dalgarno to assess the broadest range of casks delivering an unrivalled range of natural colours. The casks chosen for the range deliver a gradation of colour from light to dark, with the wood character defining each expression’s flavour, moving from lighter, lemon citrus to richer, dried fruit notes. As the whiskies become darker and richer, so the pool of casks able to deliver this character becomes smaller and rarer. 
Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker, The Macallan, said, “The Macallan world of colour is the true inspiration of the 1824 Series. Using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, allowing us to explore different casks and take a more flexible approach to our stock. We have been able to work creatively with the full range of matured stock available, rather than working to a pre-determined character based on age. For me, the key thought in this range is that great single malt doesn’t need to be 30 years old to taste like a 30 year old.” 
By drawing on his broadest range of skills in cask selection, Bob has been unshackled by the need to draw on casks selected first and foremost for their age. His expert skills ensure consistency through the effective management and selection of the casks which provide the spectrum of natural colour and character essential to The Macallan. 
Commenting on this latest innovation, Ken Grier, Director of Malts, Edrington said “As some 60% of the aroma and flavour of The Macallan derives from the oak maturation casks, this new range is a genuine opportunity to demonstrate the critical role of these exceptional casks and also to challenge perceptions about bottling at arbitrary ages. Taking colour as the basis for shaping these whiskies, an industry first, is testimony both to the innovative approach to whisky making and to the long experience of our Whisky Maker. This truly is Bob’s work at its very best.” 
Cheryl Tang, Brand Manager, Beam Global Australia states “The 1824 Series showcases its signature style of The Macallan, embracing the defining elements of natural colour and exceptional sherry casks which have made it one of the world’s truly great single malts. The series is one of the most anticipated new releases in whisky times and we are excited to introduce the Amber, Sienna and Ruby to the Australian market.”
The Macallan 1824 Series will be available in major liquor outlets and leading bars nationally from November 2013. RRP for the 700ml series are; The Macallan 1824 Amber, $105 per bottle, The Macallan 1824 Sienna, $160 per bottle and The Macallan 1824 Ruby, $220 per bottle.

The full range is being released in Australia this November. I'll be tasting the range again soon, so will post detailed tasting notes then. In the mean time, here's a photo of me (a younger me, I should point out!) at the home of this very whisky:

 - Martin.

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