With student loans being a hot topic, I’m sure some American readers will have heard of the phrase: College has gotten more expensive but it hasn’t gotten any better. Well, I say whiskey is like college. It’s getting more expensive, but it’s not getting any better.
I feel like Macallan is the right brand to associate with this idea. There was a time when being a college graduate meant success. There was also a time when going to college was not so expensive. Student debt could be paid off rather quickly. You’d get a job, work off your debts and you’d live a good life. Life was so much easier. What happened to college? Is this a case “if isn’t broken it doesn’t need fixing” went wrong? Have too many people graduated from college? Are the incentives not enough to attract the best candidate for professors?
It’s become scarily apparent that being a college graduate these days does not guarantee success. You may graduate with debt that takes years to pay. You may involuntarily end up working in an industry you don’t like and has no relation to your degree. Does a degree still bring the same value to the table as it did before? Has the availability of alternate paths to success lead to the fallen perception of college? Or did the fall of college’s quality lead to alternate paths? Are too many people also just going to college today?
At the beginning of my whisky journey, some veteran whisky collectors served as semi-whisky mentors online. Like going to college. They told me that there was a time when Macallan was more affordable and was good enough to die for. I’m sad I missed out on that era.
Like the assurance of good jobs we were promised, the top of the line quality sherry casks are gone. With those, go the ex-sherry cask only matured Macallan. I remember those times when Macallan 12 sherry locally available at $40. Now, the Macallan 12 year sherry oak can’t be found. If you do find one, it’s about $70 to $80? What can you easily find now? Double Cask? Triple Oak? What happened to their obsession with quality sherry casks? Did “obsession with quality” turn into an obsession with profit?
Where did all these ex-bourbon matured and double matured releases come from? It slowly became apparent to me that buying Macallan these days does not mean you get good quality whisky. Just like graduating with a degree means doesn’t mean you will get a good job. Its legendary prestige is still there like the reverence a college degree brings. But does it have the same value as from back then? I leave it up to you.
Drinking Macallan used to show you were a step above the run of the mill blended Scotch drinkers. Just like you were told you could go to more places than the normal high school graduate. It used to mean you were sophisticated and was higher up in society. The first time I had heard of Macallan was in my teens when uncles talked about how this was the choice of the corrupt and higher up corrupt government officials.
Those are no longer the case. Is the boom of the spirits industry to blame? Did people just get smarter and become aware? Did some fans not like the shift in direction of Macallan? Are other sherry bombs like Glendronach to blame? Do I hear malternatives? World whisky? You may ask yourself, “Should I have gone for the suggestions of some whisky geeks?”
We are still being told, if you go to college you’ll increase your chances of having a good life. We are still being advised, if you buy Macallan, you’re buying premium. Premium what? Whisky or packaging? Ask yourself, is paying the higher price always the better option?
I was only able to catch a good glimpse of Macallan’s age of quality when I tried and bought this beauty of 60.1% abv Macallan Cask Strength NAS back in 2014. I was told, I bought it at just the right for the price at $100 back then. I think it was discontinued sometime 2013. I’m told by Macallan loving friends that this is going for around $600 or more now in the grey market. According to veteran collectors, the discontinuing of this was the sign that Macallan sold out, or would sell out. It was a sign for the long time Macallan fans that they indirectly being told to bend over or step aside. It was their time to milk the newbies, who were amazed at the reputation of The Macallan. Those veteran collectors were right. Macallan eventually rolled out the NAS series after NAS series.
Macallan Cask Strength – review
On the nose: Big notes of red scents each waiting to slam straights in your face with pink peppercorn, sultanas, cherry jam, oranges followed by jabs of dark chocolate, coffee and Napa Bordeaux wine.
In the mouth: Heavy flavors of red cherries and dark chocolate, melted by scorching flavors of sulfur. Hints of port, grape skin, cherry jam and cappuccino.
There weren’t any surprises here. Whatever you get on the nose is what you get in the mouth. A very straightforward sherry bomb similar to Aberlour Abunadh and Glendronach CS.
This is as good as I remembered it to be. Any sherry bomb lovers who try this will feel the same, but will wonder why Macallan discontinued this wonderful release. I can imagine myself going crazy buying a case or 2 of this 5 years ago. Such was my ignorance back then. I’m glad I moved on from sherry bombs and Macallan. They just don’t do anything for my palate anymore. Had less exposed me given this a review this 4 years ago this would have been a 8/10.