By James Atkinson
Speyside distillery The Macallan this week unveiled The 1824 Series, a new range of malts featuring three expressions: Amber, Sienna and Ruby.
Macallan whisky maker Bob Dalgarno created the expressions by identifying the natural colour formed during maturation in different cask types to create a whisky character informed by these colours.
The casks chosen for the range deliver a gradation of colour from light to dark, with the wood character defining each expression’s flavour, moving from lighter, lemon citrus to richer, dried fruit notes. As the whiskies become darker and richer, so the pool of casks able to deliver this character becomes smaller and rarer.
Dalgarno said that using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, allowing him to explore different casks and take a more flexible approach.
“We have been able to work creatively with the full range of matured stock available, rather than working to a pre-determined character based on age. For me, the key thought in this range is that great single malt doesn’t need to be 30 years old to taste like a 30 year old.”
Dalgarno’s view on the 1824 Series was echoed this week by Australian Scotch Malt Whisky Society director Andrew Derbidge (pictured), who introduced the expressions at the launch event at Blu Bar on 36 in Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel. [continued below]
“You’re dealing with something very special, very different, and almost revolutionary,” he said.
“Macallan is of the very few distilleries in the world today that does not add artificial colour to its whiskies. Where Macallan have been very clever with this release is to focus not so much on age but on natural colour from the wood,” said Derbridge.
Distributed by Beam Global Australia, The Macallan 1824 Series is available from November 2013. RRPs for the 700ml series are; The Macallan 1824 Amber, $105 per bottle, The Macallan 1824 Sienna, $160 per bottle and The Macallan 1824 Ruby, $220 per bottle.