Whisky Advocate

Whisky Advocate Award: Speyside Single Malt of the Year

December 18th, 2013

Macallan Ruby, 43%, £120

To say that Macallan flirted with controversy last year would be a bit of an understatement. The announcement that it was going to replace some of its age statement range in favor of a new selection of No Age Statements graded by Macallan Rubycolor certainly got plenty of people’s backs up. As a result, the new drams tended to be condemned before they’d ever been sipped. Those who did try them would, hopefully, have found that Gold, Amber, Ruby, and Sienna were not only excellent whiskies in their own right, but were excellent representations of Macallan, and, in this writer’s opinion, were superior to the whiskies which they were replacing.

For me, the finest of the quartet is Ruby, which is Macallan in mellow and fruitful autumnal guise mixing prune, dried cherries, rose petal, and chocolate-covered Turkish Delight. More vinous than resinous, it balances tannin with deep fruitiness. Yes, people will continue to carp, but if they do, ask them this: why replace one range with another that costs more to produce…and tastes better? Better still, sit them down, pour them a glass and watch the result. For quality and also for chutzpah, Macallan Ruby deserves the award.  — Dave Broom

Brace yourself: the Islay Single Malt of the Year blows in tomorrow.

9 Responses to “Whisky Advocate Award: Speyside Single Malt of the Year”

  1. Dave, by “superior to the whiskies which they were replacing”, do you refer to both the Fine Oak and the Sherry Oak ranges?

    In my opinion the new range is indeed an improvement if you compare it to the Fine Oaks. And I have to say I really enjoyed the Sienna. But Gold and Amber were disappointing for me and I certainly did not like them better than the 10 and 12 yo Sherry Oaks. I only tried the Ruby informally, so my disappointment with that one should not be taken too seriously.

  2. Tadas A says:

    Some of the statements are not correct. “why replace one range with another that costs more to produce…and tastes better?” Please explain, how exactly does it cost more to make whisky around 10 year old instead of 18 year old?
    “superior to the whiskies which they were replacing” Really? How is this better than Macallan 18yo which it is replacing? Macallan 18yo was rated 91 point. Macallan 15yo was rated 92. Macallan Ruby 90 – by this same magazine.
    “Gold, Amber, Ruby, and Sienna were not only excellent whiskies in their own right, but were excellent representations of Macallan” – Macallan Gold and Amber were rated very low 83 points here. It is very contradictory when those whiskies now being announced as great.

    • Dan Z. says:

      This is an endorsement of a product, and an invitation to buy more magazines, so I do wish we could get a response about the statement: “why replace one range with another that costs more to produce…and tastes better?” That says you have some factual knowledge to back up the statement. Please share.

      • Lew Bryson says:

        Dan, We’ve asked Dave to comment on your questions and statements, but with the proximity of the Christmas holidays, he may take a while to respond.
        In the meantime, just to be clear: “endorsement” has an implication of support for a product in exchange for payment. As has always been the case with our awards, there is no fee, there is no charge, there is not even any formal submission; just wanted to be clear about that. As far as an invitation to buy more magazines…we’re giving copy away for free here!
        Cheers; I’m sure Dave will be weighing in at some point soon.

      • Dan Z. says:

        Thanks. By endorsement, I simply meant “recommendation.” Naturally as a business these posts do and should hint at the more in-depth coverage people can get by purchasing the paper magazine, which I have. I look forward to hearing more information about Macallan’s plans: details seem a little hard to come by.


  3. Stanford says:

    I have become “re-interested” in whiskey, and especially single malts on the last year. And have been drinking many of the entry level expressions to familiarize myself with the range of single malts available before deceiving on any favorites. And I have now discovered that I enjoy peat after all. I didn’t when I was younger.
    I have also been reading the background books and various web sites.
    But I share the confusion expressed by Tadas A when he notes the often sharp discrepancy between the often laudatory write/ups and the resulting marks. It’s a general observation, not highlighting this site but I’m assuming Tadas is correct.

  4. Stanford says:

    Sorry for the above typos: difficult to correct on a small smartphone.

  5. Danny Maguire says:

    Dave, I have tried them, at the distillery. I’m recalcitrant, I prefer the range they replaced.

  6. J. Avila says:

    I think macallan simply could not keep up with demand of its whisky and the time it required to age it. Sure NAS has worked for Ardbeg but then quality of their range has remained high. I just don’t think macllan can do the same I feel they are just trying to cut corners, increase price & volume sales while shipping out inferior scotch.

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