Leading whisky brand The Macallan has launched in Singapore the Macallan Edition No.5 – the fifth in its limited Edition series – celebrating its commitment to natural colour.
One of the most anticipated whisky launches over the past few years have been The Macallan’s Edition series, with one edition dropping each year starting with The Macallan Edition No.1 back in 2016. This limited edition series celebrates the distillery’s working philosophies; for example Edition No.1 looked at its use of exceptional oak casks – one of the distillery’s six key guiding principles in what it calls the “Six Pillars of The Macallan” – and vatting eight different distinct cask profiles into a singular expression.
Then there was Edition No.2, which paid homage to the spirit of collaboration. After all, over the years The Macallan has worked with a multitude of partners – luxury glassmaker Lalique to create beautiful decanters for its premium whiskies, and celebrity photographers forf its Masters of Photography initiative, for example. To launch No.2 the Macallan even worked with award-winning Spanish restaurant El Cellar de Can Roca, in a subtle and clever way to hint at its long-standing partnerships with the sherry producers it sources its casks from.
On the other hand Edition No.3 was a partnership with perfume makers Roja Dove for an exploration of the olfactory, while Edition No.4 commemorated the launch of its new distillery which was unveiled in the middle of last year.
And now it’s the turn of Edition No.5.
Now the Edition series is eagerly looked forward to for many reasons, but chief among them is that – especially for limited-edition Macallans – these non-age statement whiskies are actually very affordable, and more importantly for many collectors their value can appreciate (and have appreciated) very quickly. The aforesaid Edition No.1 was launched in Singapore at a price of under S$200; if you’re on the hunt for one that bottle can set you back almost S$2,000 today. A ten-fold increase over three years? That’s possibly one of the best performing investments one can make.
The Macallan Edition No.5 and the colour purple.
So what of The Macallan Edition No.5? This expression goes back to another one of its core principles, the brand’s commitment to natural colour in the making of its whiskies. For this it’s even worked with the Pantone Color Institute to create an entirely new pantone colour – The Macallan Purple – to commemorate this whisky.
“We can find much common ground between whisky making and colour creation and with Edition No. 5 we have been able to explore and celebrate these two art forms. Whilst colour development starts with mixing basic colours with precision to achieve different shades, for whisky making, it is the knowledge and understanding of a specific palette of colours from the cask which is the starting point. From here we can craft the desired character and specific colour of the final whisky,” explained Sarah Burgess, The Macallan Whisky Maker.
But colour is really rather meaningless when it comes to whisky. Certainly some brands would leverage on caramel colouring (specifically E150a); in a more benign use to maintain colour consistency across different batches, or more insidiously, to trick less enlightened consumers into thinking that the spirit has spent more time in wood no thanks to its darker colour. It’s an interesting marketing approach, but true whisky aficionados though are really less concerned with colour; they know the varied hues offered by whisky is no indication of quality of the actual spirit.
Ironically the Edition No.5 is a great reminder of this. The expression used wholly American oak casks in the making of this single malt, but with multiple cask profiles which include first-fill bourbon barrels, refill hogsheads and butts, first-fill Tevasa hogsheads and butts, first-fill Vasyma butts and first-fill Hudosa hogsheads and butts. More interestingly, we understand that the bourbon barrel – which imparts a lighter colour compared to those that’s seen a sweeter sherry seasoning – used in the No.5 actually comes from a higher age stock: a great example of how a darker colour in a whisky doesn’t equate with age or quality.
How do we think it tastes? Well, our tasting notes are given below. If you like the sound of it you may want to get your bottles fast – we’re expecting stop collectors to swoop in and clear the shelves of this.
The Macallan No.5 is officially available from 15 October 2019 at all leading whisky retailers at a recommended retail price of S$204. You can purchase online here.
Official Whisky Maker’s Notes: The Macallan Edition No.5
COLOUR Sunlit barley.
NOSE Vanilla and toffee with notes of oak, nutmeg and ginger and lemon basil and pear.
PALATE Nutmeg with wood spices and green cloves open up immediately, leaving a sweet and vanilla viscous mouth coating Fresh and sweet with caramel moving into poached peaches and ripe pear. Quickly followed by a toffee sweetness with light oak spices in the form of nutmeg and hints of ginger in the background.
Finish Long and sweet.
Spirited Singapore Tasting Notes: The Macallan Edition No.5
colour Burnished gold.
nose Peaches and pears poached in a spiced caramel syrup, served with vanilla ice cream and a sesame tuille.
palate Initial palate is toffee sweetness, like a candied apple at a county fair. Flavours open up to bold sweet baking spices as in a gingerbread cookie, with an underlying bitter oak bite.
finish A relatively long oaky finish that dries out beautifully to leave you reaching for the next sip.
verdict Macallan Double Cask 12YO on steroids. Great for those who love punchy, high strength whiskies that exhibit classic Macallan characteristics but in a ginormous slap-me-up way.