I can’t think of many more fudged whisky releases than for the Macallan Edition No. 3. Rumours are that it was sold too early – or distributed too early – to some part of America, way before the scheduled release date. That would explain why those pesky (my favourite whisky YouTubers) Scotch Test Dummies managed to get their hands on a bottle, way before the rest of the world.
Macallan then sends out a ton of media, newsletters, Facebook posts and the likes, relating to a release that you can’t actually buy because no retailer would have it in stock for another few weeks. In the world of e-commerce, it’s one of the worst things you can do.
And sod’s law that this would actually be a mainstream release that I genuinely wanted to throw my hard cash at. So there I was, cash in hand, watching one, two, three emails ping into my inbox from Macallan, and there was STILL NO BUY BUTTON. Not that they sell direct, anyway, but nowhere else in the world had it. This was the way for weeks, this slow Chinese water-torture form of email marketing, in which I would receive notifications on something that I could not buy.
Why was I so desperate? Suffice to say that, almost a year ago now, I absolutely adored the Macallan Edition No. 2. I bought three bottles of it, and have consumed 2… It was better than the already very good Macallan Edition No. 1, so I was rather excited to try the third in the series, to say the least.
For Macallan Edition No. 3, the distillery teamed up with Master Perfumer Roja Dove to select the casks for this vatting. (I have a half-baked theory on many whisky brands are styling themselves like perfume brands, and the name Master Perfumer sits nicely alongside Master Distiller.) Macallan Edition No.3 is bottled at 48.3% ABV. The casks that make up the vatting, as listed on the box, are first-fill Hudosa butts, American oak; European and American oak refill butts; first-fill Tevasa butts and puncheons made from European oak; first-fill bourbon hogsheads; first-fill Tevesa hogsheads; and first-fill bourbon barrels. (There’s not much information around on Tevesa and Hudosa casks…)
A bottle costs somewhere around £80 if you can find one.
Macallan Edition No. 3 Review
Colour: deep copper.
On the nose: warming heather honey melted over creamy porridge. Slightly lighter than the Ed. 2, becoming more citrusy, floral in places on the high notes. Baked orchard fruits with cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup. The dried fruits come: sultanas, apricots; fresh, perhaps more elegant and perfumed. Peaches. Fresh apricots now. Mango. Toffee fudge, then lightly toasted wholemeal bread. Multiple layers. Jasmine. Strawberry jam and cream.
In the mouth: velvety, but not too cloying. Toffee fudge. Heather honey, moving into mead territory. More intensely raisin-based, with orange marmalade, ginger and lemon juice. Quite a spritely little thing. Back to golden syrup, much more vanilla. In the middle: herbal notes, sage and thyme. Apricots. Crabapple jelly. Brown sugar. A lovely woody warmth that isn’t at all harsh or tannic: nutmeg here, with a wisp of peppermint or fennel perhaps on the finish. There’s a lovely lightness, a freshness about the whole thing. The nose is better than the taste – ironic given this was a partnership with a master perfumer.
More elegant than Edition 2, but not with as much heft or cloyingness. This is more feminine; the Edition 2 more masculine.
But this is still a delightfully charming whisky that’s so much better than much of the Scotch whisky I’ve been tasting for Whisky Magazine this year. The word premium has lost all meaning in the Scotch whisky industry. It’s used to describe any old crap. The Macallan can, I feel, quite rightly claim the right to call themselves premium in the truest sense. In fact, no. This is only £80, in a market where you’d pay twice that for some absolutely dull, third-fill dishwater liquid of a whisky.
I prefer Edition No. 2. But this is still a very, very good whisky indeed. It is ridiculously drinkable. I’d happily buy another bottle.
God what a great series.