Review: The Macallan Edition No. 4
If you happen to have lost track of the releases in the Macallan Edition series, we’re now at No. 4. This single malt, like those before it, is intended to showcase a unique selection of oak casks, and for this particular release, seven different sherry-seasoned casks were used. But Edition No. 4 is also pulling double duty as a celebration of the completion last spring of Macallan’s new $200 million, state-of-the-art distillery and visitor center in Speyside. Per Macallan:
The fourth release in this innovative annual Series, Edition No.4 embodies the craftsmanship and pioneering design of the new Macallan Distillery and demonstrates the mastery of whisky making since 1824. As we enter an exciting new era, this limited edition marks the coming together of our history and new horizons in the creation of two structural masterpieces: a remarkable whisky and a magnificent new distillery.
So, no pressure on this bottle. Right?
The nose is instantly dynamic and seems to constantly evolve in the glass. While classic sherried Macallan at its core, this whisky is kicked up several notches with a rich and sultry bouquet of candied almond, dark cherry, juicy raisin, and toffee along with subtler notes of freshly planed wood, new leather, and old books. It’s as engaging a nose as you’re likely to find in a no-age-stated single malt.
On the palate, it’s at first a little hot, and it shows almost too much sherry, but things come into balance quickly with a harmony of sweetness, malt, and oak. There’s initial oily red fruits, ripe and stewed and delicately layered, giving more volume to the distinct wine character of sherry-casked Macallan. Beyond that, the cask and the malt take over with notes of old barn wood, milk chocolate, praline, and a laundry list of baking spices: nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and star anise among others. The finish is long and honeyed with light brown sugar, pipe tobacco, and a lingering old sherry sweetness that alternates between dark raspberry and cinnamon.
I’d say this one is a fitting tribute to Macallan’s new home.