Wirral Life October 2017 - Page 37

W L THE WHISKY CONNOISSEUR BY DAVID GREEN, THE RED FOX This month, we are off to Speyside and to perhaps one of the most recognisable names in the world of whisky. The Macallan is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery based just outside Craigellachie, Moray, north east of Scotland. Founded in 1824, The Macallan was one of the first Scottish distilleries to be legally licensed, today it is one of the largest in Scotland. In fact, it is third in total world sales for single malts, producing and selling 000’s of bottles worldwide every year. Located on a 390-acre estate in the Scottish Highlands, using water from springs beneath its estate, The Macallan makes single malt whiskies using the smallest commercial stills in Speyside. Their unique size and shape gives the spirit maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the new-make spirit with rich, fruity, full-bodied flavours. These stills are so famous that they appear on the back of a Bank of Scotland £10 note. Look closely and you’ll see bottles of The Macallan in well know films and TV shows. In Suits, Harvey Spector drinks Macallan 18, and Bond is seen toasting with a ‘Macallan 50’ in Skyfall. The Macallan is one of the most sought-after whiskies for collectors having built a strong reputation for quality malt whisky; rare expressions can change hands for thousands of pounds, and prices for such bottles are continuously going up. In 2014, a decanter of The Macallan ‘M’ whisky sold at auction in Hong Kong for a record breaking $628,205 and earlier this year a collection of Macallan single malts set a new world record price for any lot of whisky sold at auction, selling for $993,000. The distillery invests a lot of time and effort into sourcing and making casks for maturing their spirit, and it makes sense, as it’s the single greatest contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colours and the distinctive aromas and flavours of The Macallan malts. They are said to spend more per cask than any other distillery, they really do love their casks, so much so that they are the only Scotch distiller with a dedicated job role ‘Master of Wood’ who’s job it is to purely oversee the casks. All the colours in The Macallan whiskies are natural. The interaction of the spirit with the casks delivers the rich and natural diversity of colour throughout the range, from light oak through to darkest mahogany. Great skill is required by the Master Whisky Maker to achieve consistency of natural colour from bottling to bottling. For me, any Macallan dram is worthwhile. For those new to the distiller, Macallan Gold, a blend of 9 to 15 year old casks, or Macallan 12 Year Old Fine Oak are both good starting points. Although you can still find age statement whiskies in the range, Macallan, like many other distilleries, have been moving in the direction of NAS (No Age Statement). My pick of this month, Sienna, is one such no age statement release and forms part of the 1824 Series which takes its name from the year that The Macallan was founded. Sienna is the second-darkest whisky in the 1824 Series and has been matured in American oak as well as sherry casks and balances rich dried- fruit sweetness with some lighter, spicier notes. On the nose it has a buttery creamy quality with thick sweet malty goodness where the bourbon seems to meet you first with the sherry playing catch-up just ever so behind. On the palate this whisky is silky smooth, with medium oils in your mouth combined with just a sprinkling of spice, mostly due to the slight hike in ABV, which for me is a welcomed thing. I really get fruitcake-sweet aromas with dates, figs and raisins and then a hint of oranges and apples, before vanilla returns in grandeur. The final fanfare is gentle, smooth and warming. The Red Fox has recently been voted in the top ten whisky pubs in the UK by The Good Pub Guide so to celebrate we are holding a whisky weekend from the 8th to 10th November, we will feature a number of malts from The Macallan range, check our www.redfox.pub for more information. Sienna is available at The Red Fox or grab a bottle for £74.55 at www.thewhiskyexchange.com wirrallife.com 37