Scotch newrangel

Published on November 19th, 2012 | by Mark


The Macallan Gold

“You’re not a number, you’re a whisky.” Or at least, that must have been part of the debate at Macallan HQ with Gold, as it’s one of the releases in the 1824 Series – where Macallan have abandoned the age statement, believing it’s all about the colour of the liquid in this case. The other whiskies are called Amber, Sienna and Ruby, all of which makes this sound like an escort agency as much as a range of whiskies, but a marketeer I am not.

Macallan – sorry, THE Macallan, definite article required – needs little in the way of introduction. It was founded in 1824 in Moray, Scotland, and is owned today by The Edrington Group Limited. It’s very well-known, and generally well respected. Three bottles appear in the film Skyfall, should you be interested, one of which is spilled on the floor after some generic and unnecessary on-screen sexism.

So, onto the Macallan Gold. This is made of different whiskies that have been sitting in first fill and refill sherry casks for between 9 and 15 years. According to Macallan: “Using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, creating The Macallan Gold allowed us to explore different casks and base our choices on aromas and flavours”.

Tasting notes

Colour: GOLD. Well, almost. A dark gold, I suppose. I’m not rich enough to have ever seen a bar of real gold, but from the pictures on the Internet, it’s pretty close. On the nose: that’s a pretty lovely sweet aroma, right off the bat actually. Creamy, buttery sugar. Toffee. Marmalade on toast. Sultanas, raisin, mince pies. A little dash of citrus. Not massively complex, but delicious for the price.

In the mouth: again, really lovely. Silky texture, medium weight liquid, and just sits in the mouth wonderfully. All of those dried fruits come in waves one after another, then a Christmassy note of orange, and cinnamon. Distant briny notes, moving in to citrus. Hardly any peppery spices coming through, which keeps this rather gentle, and the finish is a little on the short side but lingers on a bold note of barley. All in all, it’s a remarkably precise whisky, very easy drinking, and very well-balanced.

As an entry level whisky, at £35, this is superb value for money. Delicious and very approachable for an entry level whisky, and especially the start of a distillery’s core range. Pour this for people who think they don’t like whisky, and see where that gets you. I’m also chuffed that I got to the end of this review, without mentioning Spandau Ballet.


About the Author

In addition to Malt, I've written about whisky for Whisky Magazine and The Scottish Sporting Gazette. I do other writing too: several mass market genre novels, a few short stories, SFX magazine, the Huffington Post, and even for BBC Radio 4. For my day job (I know, I don't get out much) I work in marketing. Follow me on or

8 Responses to The Macallan Gold

  1. raithrover says:

    I didn’t enjoy this one, to me its whisky for the Apple generation – ‘oh I’ll take a gold one please.’ A good move on paper and one that covers the lack of aged stock that many distilleries are faced with as demand continues to soar abroad. I’m sure it’ll sell very well and Macallan will suggest the industry moves away for age statements for obvious reasons. Despite much of their success being built upon an awesome array of bottles going back generations.

    Gold is the ipod shuffle when in reality you want the all singing, all dancing 160GB ipod with all the options.

    • Malt says:

      Personally I’m glad that they’ve dropped the age statements – and I hope the notion that a number can be an indicator of quality is lost to time. Some good will come of that.

      I hear what you say with the iPod analogy, but not everyone can afford a 160GB iPod – and the shuffle is still pretty good for the price. :)

  2. I have already a headache. I hope they know what they are doing. NAS isn’t a bad thing, but high production volume usually means lower quality.

  3. Chris says:

    Just poured out my first measure and I am very impresessed! Easy on the pallet! The vanilla and citrus flavours coming through at the end leaves me with a frustrating dilemma……..”shall I pour another”? Tune in next week!

  4. Antiehypocrite says:

    Whiskey whiskey whiskey!

  5. acm says:

    which whiskies under the £35-mark barrier are better than the Macallan Gold?

    • Mark @ Malt says:

      I suppose if you’re after reasonably sweet, smooth whiskies in – very roughly – the same profile, you could easily get a Bruichladdich Scottish Barley, Dalmore 12 or Glenfarclas 12 or anCnoc 12 Year Old… Off the top of the head!

      • acm says:

        thanks. I’ve been a faithful fan of Macallan, but I think I’ll try one of these – or all of them – as my stock of Macallan is coming to an end.

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