THE DECLINE PART II
Anyhow, I was glancing at my collection of Macallan 18's from 1977 to 1983 (i don't have the 1978 --anyone?)and it is a study in quality decline. First the lables look from great to ok; even the quality of the paper used, changed for the worst.
Then there's the information provided: up until the 1980 vintage, the bottling date is given. They stopped doing that with the 1981 onwards! And now for the whisky, since 1983, the Macallan 18 is no longer a vintage. Of course it is misleading since the box say in large letters "1983" (in smaller print on the bottle comes the justification: "from whiskies distilled in 1983 and earlier years"(!)--why put the date on the bottle and box if it is meaningless? Marketing that's why. (by the way, just at that time the prices skyrocketed; lower quality at higher prices: make sense out of that one if you can).
Not to mention that it fooled me into thinking I was buying a vintage single malt when I was most definetly not. Ah, the decline of the Macallan...how low will they go...what heights will the prices rise to?
All that being said it is still one of the very best, if not the best, single malt sold today. It's just that you have to go to the auction house to bid on what you used to purchase at the store....
Today they sell the best, but do they still make the best? Are they still using Golden Barley exclusively as was common practice? I suggest you re-read Michael Jackson's introduction/blurb before his tasting notes on the Macallan in the latest edition of his Guide to SMS. As usual it is subtle, but read between the lines and you may have to start shopping for a new favourite pretty soon...
As to the reason for continuing to include the year, I found this odd at first. Then I decided I liked it because I wanted to continue to know what "year" I was buying. It also is a subtle reminder that we should not expect complete consistently from year to year.
How is life in New Orleans???
To answer some of your questions.
Spirit Caramel, is an aproved(by law) caramel with the European code E 150, wich should be free of taste and smell. However this is also used in bear breweries, and if you add to much spirit caramel, then there is quite a lot of effect, so that is the reason why they use very little of this stuff in the whisky industry. As you allready know, Macallan doesn't use any of that at all, that gives a certain charm to the whisky, while the color might vary from time to time.
The reason probably for stating that they used even older whiskies on the 1983 Vintage of Macallan is, is that they where dealing with it's character, and if that doesn't match, or doesn't suits the whisky makers, then sometimes it might be nessecary to add some other Macallan to it, but you can trust that the majority is the 1983 vintage, but they have to put it on the label, and that's not only by law, but also to inform the consumer what's in it, and they are only honest to you(some whisky makers don't go thru so much trouble by giving you the exact information).
Yes, they still use the Golden Promise barley, although for roughly 30% and the rest 70% is from another crop. The Golden Promise crop is very dificult to handle, so that's the reason why the most farmers don't do it any more. Today they use quite a lot the Optic variety(2001) and later on Optic 2002. But at the Easter Elchies Estate they still have a lot of acres of Golden Promise Barley....
The vintages 1978 and and 1977, are the ones I have yet not seen so far, a friend of my had a vintage from 1976, wich was very rich of aroma, and very complex of taste, and very mellow aswell.....
Keep on shopping.....
So, the volume laid down in those days will not, in many cases, be sufficient to satisfy today's demand for a single malt released in its mid to late teens: see Macallan and Lagavulin as "classic" examples. An explanation why the 18yo is not longer a true vintage? Perhaps you'd have to ask Mr Robertson that and it wold be nice to, one day, to have some input from the distillery itself.
There again, isn't the bottom line the quality and flavour of the whisky? Is the current 18 as good, or comparable to previous ones?
I have tried Macallan Cask Strength, the US release with the red label.
I find it is excellent. The nose is pungent, fruit, alcohol, polished wood (think wood paneled dinning room with high ceilings). The palate is slightly viscous but vigourous with hints of dark chocolate, candied bitter oranges and more wood. Add to this a long finish.
The color is splendid throughout. But I note with trepidation that it is noticeably darker that the Macallan 18 (in this case the 1980 vintage), and I ask: how is this possible? Are they mixing up whiskies which are over 18 in this "no age statement" release?
Spot on Lex, he's right, by adding some water you are able to dilute the color(very simple test to do at home, take a glas of water and add some ink, then notice the color, then add some more water, and notice the color again, quite simple), that's why The Macallan is darker the the rest(see also the vintages of The Macallan, and especially the 1972, is quite dark and undiluted).
My favorite vintage is the Macallan 1976, wich was full of flavor and very rich of aroma. I'm still waiting for Issue 28, it should reach my door step within a couple of days, because everybody has allready talking about the latest Issue...
I'm still curious about The macallan 7Y old(for the Italian market), never had a chance to taste it actually, maybe somebody here knows something about it???
What is your problem Bartok.You've had 12yrs,
AND 18Yrs and you did'nt like either of them.
Now you're going for more????
If you're looking for expensive status symbols go get a Ferrari or something!!!!!
There are much better tasting malts at a far better price out there.
It'a shame people put so much stock in brand names at the expense of drinking something they really like.
Forget about Macallan,i have,for the price of an 18yr old you can buy 2 bottles of most malts.
Stay ahead of the game,DARE TO BE DIFFERENT.
[This message has been edited by Paddy (edited 05 December 2002).]
It's all a matter of personal taste and preferences, or do I say something wrong here? But why so dissapointed about the 1982 Macallan, remember that each vintage year of The Macallan may vary from year to year
It depends on how much will you spend on a bottle, and yes sometimes you have two bottles for the price of one, so that's your choice if you go for that. Don't forget, that there still people who like Macallan, and yes it may vary from time to time, so you just take it or leave it.
And ofcourse there are some fine malts to taste aswell, I like lots of them, don't you worry about that.
So stay ahead of the game, DARE TO STICK TO SOMETHING(S) YOU REALLY LIKE.
I will have you notice that the first part of the message above is a quote from Bartok's message and not my words.
And if you read his message you will see that he has purchased Macallan 12 & 18yrs and did not like either and that my response to Bartok was in reply to his intentions of buying Macallan yet again in the form of their cask strength offering.
Am i making myself clear Eric?
[This message has been edited by Paddy (edited 05 December 2002).]
Bartok: Apart from Balvenie (any version, they're all good, although I don't personally go a bundle on the port finish) I'd thoroughly recommened the Aberlour a'bunadh (far superior to any of the "standard" Aberlours), but also Mortlach, Linkwood, Longmorn and Dailuaine - all tremendous whiskies, but you do have to search them out a bit, as they don't seem to benefit from the advertising and marketing "push" that the big names get. Enjoy!
[BTW, on the subject of daring to stick to something you really like, it has just occurred to me that I drink way more Glengoyne than any other malt, but if you asked me to list my "top five" whiskies, I wouldn't have thought to include it there. Just goes to show, I suppose: what you think is the best and what you actually like the best may well not be the same.]
My Apologies for the hot headed attitude on above reply(just one of those days).
As a big Island malt fan myself,i am glad to see you are as well.
As far as sherry is concerned i prefer a more subtle approach.Macallan is nice,but that's alot of sherry.A bit much for my taste.
A malt i have found to be a nice alternative is Dalmore 12yrs.Nice whisky this.From the sweet fruit palate to the big lingering finish.
On reviewing the threads i see you have discovered Dalmore as well,Good show.
I hope the cask strength Macallan serves you well.
Should i not respond to further threads in the near future,Please allow me to wish all of you the best of wishes for the holiday season.
Cheers & Peace to All.
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