Just in time for upcoming Chinese New Year celebration, I recently attended a tasting session for the Macallan 1824 Series. Now as you might know from previous posts, I’m only starting to dip my toes into Scotch and Whisky tastings. I’ve felt like every time I’ve experienced Scotch or Whisky in the past, it would be just too overwhelming and smokey in taste for me. But as time goes on and as I’m extremely lucky to partake in events like these, I’m starting to grow an appreciation for Scotch.
The difference between Whisky, Scotch and Bourbon? Location. To be labelled Scotch, it must be made in Scotland (Bourbon is made in the US).
Typically, Scotch paints an image in most people’s mind as a stuffy old man, sipping on the Scotch in an antiquated room with a fireplace and taking puffs of his expensive cigar (….or is it just me?). But time and culture has moved towards a younger demographic enjoying Scotch. While some folks consider it a sin to even mix their whisky with other ingredients to make it a cocktail, I think that it’s a great gateway to appreciating whisky further.
Our tasting was held at Kirin restaurant downtown, and we started off with the Macallan Firecracker cocktail. The cocktail consisted of the Macallan Gold, rhubarb bitters, tangerine juice and ginger beer to top. It was a dangerous drink as it was nice and sweet with a bit of the smokey flavour from the Macallan Gold. It was served alongside our appetizers (the cold platter and dim sum).
As the dinner continued, we went on to try the Macallan Gold, Amber, Sienna and the Rare Cask.
What I enjoyed with each type is the surprising fact that it paired well with our food. I’ve never really thought of scotch as something you would pair with food, especially Chinese dishes, but I can see why it would be enjoyable. Mostly because the Macallan does ‘cut’ the taste of the salt and heavier, saucier dishes.
What The Macallan does best (and is probably the reason why they’re regarded as such) is their unwavering attention to detail throughout the process – the colours in a bottle of The Macallan are natural and all Spanish oak casks are purchased by The Macallan, loaned to sherry producers then brought back to the distillery to create the Scotch.
My favourites of the evening were the Macallan Sienna and The Rare Cask. The Macallan Amber had a nice sweet, caramelly smell to it and was quite smooth when we tasted it – which I originally enjoyed the most, but when we tried the Sienna, although a tad bit sharper and smokey, I think it paired much better with our dinner. Even so, the Macallan Sienna had a burnt sugar/caramel smell to it with a bit of orange as well. The taste was more noticeable when we sipped it compared to the Amber and Gold, but still very enjoyable.
I think it comes as no surprise that the Rare Cask was fantastic. It had a nice hint of vanilla when you initially smell it and the taste was so very smooth, fuller than the previous ones but at the same time very enjoyable.
I would definitely say that I would turn to The Macallan 1824 series as my go-to Scotch. While the price point is higher than most, the quality and craftsmanship that goes into every bottle is worth every penny. I think having a bottle of The Macallan handy is great for when friends come over.
The Macallan Gold retails for $66.99, Amber – $91.99, Sienna $172.99 and the Rare Cask is $399 here in BC. I am definitely going to be investing in the line. I think this would be the perfect gift to a business person or a family member or friend if you know they love scotch!
Disclaimer: I was invited to the Macallan 1824 Tasting and my dinner was paid for, however all opinions are my own.