Back in 2015, The Macallan distillery released what was in my opinion, their most exciting whisky in years. It’s name? The Macallan Edition No. 1: a limited edition bottling crafted from a combination of eight unique European and American oak casks. Edition No. 1 was naturally colored, non-chillfiltered, and bottled at an impressive 48% ABV. It was a powerful whisky bursting with flavor and complexity with an “old-world” somewhat reminiscent of The Macallan of yesteryear. Perhaps the greatest surprise with Edition No. 1 was the price. $100 USD is no small price for a bottle of whisky but for a Macallan of this quality, it was practically a steal. I, along with many others, absolutely loved it.
A year later, Edition No. 1 was followed by Edition No. 2. This whisky was lighter in character but equally complex as its predecessor. It also introduced a new element to The Macallan’s Edition line: that of creative collaboration. Master Distiller Bob Dalgarno teamed up with the co-founders of El Cellar de Can Rosa, a Spanish restaurant twice named best in the world. Together with Dalgarno, the three brothers selected a total of four casks that would be used for Edition No. 2. Some saw Edition No. 2 as an improvement to the first, others felt it was a slight departure from the more traditional character embraced by Edition No. 1. Regardless of which side people took, almost everyone felt appreciation for The Macallan’s decision to release great whisky at a reasonable price.
Today marks the official release of the next chapter in The Edition series, the brand new Edition No. 3. I was lucky enough to link up with The Macallan and get an early taste of their newest addition to the family. I won’t get into a full review today (will have to track down a full bottle for that) but here is a brief overview of the whisky along with my initial impressions.
To craft Edition No. 3, The Macallan teamed up with Master Perfumer Roja Dove, an English fragrance specialists whose perfumes are sold in luxury department stores worldwide. Evidently, Dove’s nose is so advanced that he has successfully identified 800 different scents blindfolded. Together, Dove and Master Distiller Bob Dalgarno selected six casks, all of unique aromatic qualities, to a create a whisky possessing one incredibly complex, distinctive aroma.
Personally, I think this is awesome. The nose is the strongest sensory organ in the body and ironically, one of the most effective tools for discerning whisky. We as drinkers tend to neglect the importance that nosing a whisky plays into the overall tasting experience. Never before have we seen so much emphasis and care go into the aromatic side of a whisky as we have with Edition No. 3.
In effort to showcase the whisky’s distinct aroma, The Macallan sent this wooden aromatic diffuser with instructions to use it while tasting the whisky for the first time. Taking a combination of Edition No. 3 and distilled water, the diffuser releases the whisky’s aromas into the air, engulfing the taster (me) and the whisky in my glass in one harmonious symphony of oak, spice, and honey.
At first taste (and smell), Edition No. 3 is lighter and unsurprisingly, more floral than the previous Editions. Honey and vanilla are the driving flavors in this one. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the distillery’s Fine Oak collection but with far greater power and intensity. 48.3% ABV is enough to carry the aromas through the air and when experienced alongside support from the diffuser, it makes for a truly dynamic yet elegant experience. For those who enjoy the lighter side of The Macallan, you now have the chance to experience all of that in a bold, viscous package at a great price.