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My relationship with “The” Macallan goes back to before my whisky journey truly began. I was gifted a bottle of the 25 YO by the husband of a patient. If I had known anything about Scotch I would probably never have accepted it (I was used to $20 bottles of Canadian rye from the LCBO that my father had bought when I was a teen). That gentleman eventually, much later, inspired me to start exploring the world of whisky.
I opened a bottle of the 25 back then because my uncle likes Macallan, and though I eventually shared it with my first tasting club, I’m pretty sure that I never really appreciated it as much as others might, or maybe as much as I might appreciate it now. That bottle is long gone, the last ounce reviewed (I thought but can’t find it) by @Victor some time ago.
In February 2014 I met @Paddockjudge, and in our first trade he gave me this bottle, at the time his favourite Scotch. When we discovered 8 bottles of this now-discontinued expression selling for $73 each (tax in) in Calgary that year, I opened it to see if I wanted any more bottles. I clearly did. I would have taken them all, but I was happy to stick with 2 spares and I know that the rest are in a special place.
This bottle was opened in 2014 and I have poured it sparingly since. I was preparing a sample of something else and looking for something to review and this called to me, so I decanted the last bit of the bottle and was left with about 30 cc which I am sitting with now. It has been gassed after each pour.
This expression is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.
Neat – Sherry, lots of sherry. Prune jam, like what I used to make Homen Tashen (Purim treats) this afternoon, dark fruits. Macallan CS has a specific bass character that no other sherry monsters have. Some vanilla. Very deep, rich and warm. 22/25
With water – I get a syrupy sweetness. The spices (could it be nutmeg?) are a little stronger. The medium pitch fruits become more prominent. Black cherry. A very complex nose. (23/25)
Neat – Sweet arrival, slightly effervescent on the tongue. It hides its ABV well, but you can feel it’s a little hot after a few sips. Prunes. Sherry. Spicy. 22/25
With water – Sweet arrival. Flavour explodes in my mouth. More spicy, more fruit. A little thinner but not a problem. Some pepper. More complex. WOW! (23.5/25)
Finish: Quite dry and long, in contrast to the quick sweet arrival. Oak tannins at the exit. Did mention long finish? 22/25. Water speeds up the finish. Slightly less dry, more peppery. The oak is a little subdued (in a good way). (23/25)
Balance: Nose and palate work together. Rich, dark, complex. 23/25 With water it remains, rich and complex (23/25)
This Scotch is continuing to open up a half hour after I added water for this review. Stunning!
Score: Neat - 89 /100 With Water: 92.5 /100
Adjusted Score based on enjoyment: 94/100
I didn’t realise I liked this as much as this. I think the bottle might have even been better after I first opened it, when the dark prune notes dominated more.
I don’t remember the Macallan 25 much, but I would guess that I probably enjoy this expression more. It has full flavour and is not diluted to 43%.
Thanks again to @Paddockjudge for introducing me to this Scotch at a time when I would have been satisfied with the sherry bombs of A’Bunadh and Bladnoch.