Whisky Advocate

Review: The Macallan 1824 Collection

February 19th, 2009

I have a lot of new reviews in the queue. It’s been a while since I posted a review, so here are four!

Focus on The Macallan 1824 Collection
This is a new line of whiskies exclusively for Travel Retail, ranging from $60-$1,900. None of them have age statements. They are currently slated to debut in April, 2009, with the exception of the 1824 Limited Release decanter, which will debut in October, 2009. Prices were converted From Euros to Dollars at the current exchange rate of 1.3. These are advanced Malt Advocate magazine ratings, which will appear in the next issue.

85 The Macallan Select Oak, 40%, $60/1L
Straw gold. Well rounded, with fresh vanilla, berries in cream, caramel custard, toasted oak, and gentle dried spice. A really nice every day, anytime dram. The best price/quality ratio of the range.

83 The Macallan Whisky Maker’s Edition, 42.8%, $90/1L
Full gold. Oily in texture, with ripe barley, front-loaded toffee, honey drenched citrus, fallen orchard fruit, and a full complement of spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove). Gripping, resinous, slightly hot finish. The flavors don’t meld together here as well as the other three expressions, but it’s still a fun ride.

95 The Macallan Estate Reserve, 45.7%, $215
Amber color. Richly textured (great mouthfeel), with vanilla fudge, nougat, ripe citrus, and ginger cake, leading to a complex, spicy finish. Great depth on this one. And polished. My pick of the lot.

94 The Macallan 1824 Limited Release, 48%, $1,900
Antique amber. The darkest and most decadent of the four. Quite viscous and soothing, with well-layered notes of apple pie, marmalade, and maple syrup balanced by dried fruits, ginger, polished leather, tobacco and resinous oak. One to sip and savor very slowly. (This whisky is much better than the last ultra-premium release, the Macallan 55 year old in the Lalique Decanter, and thousands of dollars less.)

15 Responses to “Review: The Macallan 1824 Collection”

  1. Red_Arremer says:

    When the first wave of relatively pricey NAS stuff came in, it consisted of mostly young and mostly ACE’d whisky. The prevailing opinion was that something gimmicky was going on and that the marketing departments were behind it.

    But now Macallan is selling an NAS bottle for 1,900$. You, John, just rated it a 94 and recommended it over their last super premium release, one which had a big age statement on it. It looks like the popular image of NAS just got a huge boost.

    What will happen if this sort of thing really takes off? We’ve already seen what’s going on with Quarter Cask: people love that whisky. Will the new premium NAS’s become the new great standard OB’s? If they’re as good or better as whiskies with age statements will age statements eventually be seen as the real gimmicks? (I’ve read at least one industry executive hinting at this.) In the future, will IB’s be the only source of premium whisky with age statements?

  2. Lucas says:


    Really good point there my friend. Of top of my head one very successful release of 2008 that fits the profile is Glenmorangie Signet!

    There is a lot of snobbery around age statements though, I doubt they will ever go on the back track completely.

  3. kallaskander says:

    Hello John,

    Something along the line from Business Week.

    A Good Problem for Scotch Whisky

    “We can’t meet demand the way we are going, especially in India and China,” says distillery manager Alexander Tweedie.

    The problem is, whisky typically needs to spend a decade or two in oak barrels before it can fetch premium prices. Because of dwindling stocks from the 1990s slowdown, some distilleries are running low. “Everyone has supply issues, especially [for] whisky aged more than 12 years,” says Nick Morgan, global malts director at Diageo, which makes Oban, Cardhu, and Talisker.

    “The industry backed itself into a bit of a corner with age statements,” says Alistair Longwell, distillery manager at Ardmore, which two years ago introduced a “Traditional Cask” offering that doesn’t claim any particular aging.

    In this context of marketing driven product or portfolio policy the remarks made about a marketing campaign by Macallan made at Kevins Scotchblog might be of interest.

    • John Hansell says:

      Kallaskander, last year I wrote in my column in Malt Advocate that we are entering into the “New age of no age.” With gaps in production and a slew of young new whisky coming our way now and in the near future, whisky producers will be wanting to keep their options open on how the best utilize thier stocks. Blending young whisky with older whisky is one way to do this. We see this already and will continue to do so for the next decade at least.

  4. Louis says:

    My all time favorite NAS bottling is the Ardbeg Uigeadail. The best of old and young Ardbeg in one bottle at an affordable price.

    My guess/hope is that the Estate Reserve and 1824 do not contain very young malt, for those prices. The range should be around 20-30 or 40 years for those $$$/$



  5. Alice says:

    Hi John,

    I am being asked by someone about the difference between Macallan Elegancia and Macallan Select Oak 40%.
    I am aware Macallan Elegancia is matured in both Oloroso and Fino sherry oak casks for lighter, more delicate sherry style. How about Macallan Select Oak? (I don’t know too much about this Select Oak). Does it taste lighter or/and sweeter? Please let me know the difference between these two items. Thanks.



    • John Hansell says:

      Alice, I haven’t compared the two side-by-side, and I don’t have Elegancia in my stash at the moment, so I can’t answer your question definitively. Maybe someone from The Macallan can chime in here if they are lurking?

  6. Becky Brock says:

    Hi John, delighted to explain the difference between the two expressions on behalf of The Macallan. Elegancia is all sherry wood, first fill and refill European and American oak casks, but of a lighter style. Select Oak is sweeter in style, as it’s a mix of European oak casks, seasoned with Oloroso sherry which gives it its richness with sweet dried fruits and a hint of spice; and American oak casks, seasoned with Oloroso sherry or bourbon, which deliver vanilla and butterscotch flavours. This is futher enhanced by the addition of first fill sherry hogshead casks which give Select Oak a classic depth of flavour and a really long finish. Hope this helps.

  7. Thanks for your current articles concerning Travel Retail only whiskies. I asked an associate of mine to pick two of the Macallan’s up and the new Balvenie Golden Cask next week when they’re traveling. I just hope they have the time and/or remember. Unfortunately though I won’t be tasting them till my October & December tastings as the next two are already set. As I have 24 unopened bottles on the list before them.

  8. Kevin M. says:

    John, I have to disagree with your assessment of the Select Oak. It is by far the most bland whisky I’ve ever tasted; both the palate and the finish seem to be non-existent, though the nose is pleasant, and there is an almost sour aftertaste. This is surprising for The Macallan. Have you heard of any inconsistencies in the bottling?


  9. Phil says:

    Macallan Select Oak
    I recently purchased a bottle of Macallan Select Oak. The scotch turns turbid and emits an odor that smells like garbage after being in a glass for a couple of hours. What is wrong with this product? I have never experienced such an event with any Macallan products before.

  10. Rodney says:

    Where can I purchase the Macallan 1824 Whiskey Maker’s edition?


  11. Allen says:

    Hi John,
    Any idea how the 1824 Limited Release can be obtained? Looked everywhere online w/out any luck.


  12. Ed says:


    As I understand, you can purchase it in the Duty-Free stores in the airports as in not available in the U.S. unless you have a friend in the diplomatic circles. Have only one bottle of this now, the taste/nose on the Mac ER is extremely rich and hearty when compared to the Mac 18.

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