A sample of this NAS cask strength Macallan (at 60.1% ABV) was part of a very generous birthday gift from @paddockjudge.
The colour is one of the deepest and reddest I have ever seen in a whisky - almost like cola. On the nose we have black cherries, charred oak, Angostura bitters, buttermilk and dark cocoa. Blackberries, dates and plums. Walnut. Smoked paprika. Water explodes the cask even more with big fat oak, sherry and spice. A little closed, and yes the cask dominates the malt, but satisfyingly rich.
Hot on the palate with huge oak, more spices (smoked paprika again but also cayenne and cumin) and very dark fruits (dates, prunes, sultanas). Creamy. Very herbal with mint, fennel and thyme. Extremely rich Oloroso here. Amazingly, the cask is more balanced with the malt here on the palate than on the nose, especially with water.
The finish is oaky with more Angostura bitters, chili spices and very dark chocolate. If you love your sherry bombs, then by God look no further. Although the light fruity malt that is Macallan is missed here, you can't beat this sherry cask, which (like the Double Cask 12 Year Old) shows no trace of sulphur. Surprisingly, this never feels like it's 60.1% ABV. Highly recommended if you can find it!
Macallan CS was the first whisky that I found to be incredibly freakin' awesome when I started trying different styles at little café tastings here in Madison around 2009. For a long time, it was the whisky that I fantasized about splashing out for if I could ever afford that huuuuge price tag.
It was $60.
I never bought one.
@talexander I hope so too, but I worry that the number of distilleries choosing tradition of quality over big bucks is shrinking. We lost Bladnoch, Bruichladdich.... what's next?