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First vapor: Sherry; the grapy scent of pure ethanol.
Nose: Spirity concord grapes, over deep walnut oil. Further breathing shows brown sugar and cocoa powder, with a whisp of allspice or clove.
Palate: The entrance is soft with cherry, but crescendos quickly with lemon-zestiness. This prickly sourness seems like dilute raspberry juices with a powdered pepper. Then the spice mellows to a faint custard for a period, with a touch of leafy spice like tarragon. Finally, a growing red berry finally peaks at maraschino cherries over black coffee base, before fading. (This final step seems absent in the aged sample.)
Finish: The fruits (grape/lemon/cherry) and spices settle into light custard. A very slow fade, with white pepper joining.
The Ruby is an enjoyable malt, and it nicely exemplifies the "light pepper-spiced fruit" direction of this 1824 series. I don't lean toward dry or pepper-spiced malts, but I'll say it has character. Although it makes a statement, the Ruby is still a bit too light in comparison to other malts-- unless you have a real penchant for subtlety. I am at a loss for good comparisons-- other fruit&pepper malts. The Glenmorangie Artein may have similar fruits, but not the spices. Maybe Oban 14 or Glenlivet's Nadurra... Perhaps the Connosr community can point to a closer match? Overall, I did find the Ruby unique enough to be worth trying, but the price of a full bottle is not justified.
And so I am ready to bestow my verdict for the 1824 series. The quality of the 4 malts generally follows price as expected, but across qualities they share attributes. For all 4, I can say that the nose is excellent and perhaps the best part of the experience. Their degree of sour/bitter is minimal (initially), so in that sense they are smooth. However, they all lack the expected power. In comparison to most other scotches I have had, the 1824s could benefit particularly from higher ABV, at least when fresh. Perhaps for the same reason, they all suffer most especially in the palate-to-entrance, seeming very flat. Therefore, Macallan succeeds with a very aromatic, smooth and drinkable cast, of which all 4 meet minimum expectations-- but then again they ONLY meet the minimum. The 4 malts also age similarly, gaining a zesty youthful character at the expense of sour and acrid notes. Although this provides some of the punch that is needed at the entrance, the sacrifice in quality (and balance) is too great. Therefore, I recommend not storing any of them for too long after opening.