Macallan CS

Macallan CS

Following my review of the Glenfarclas 105, here is another cask strength, sherried beast from the Speyside: this time the Macallan CS (I actually tasted it right after the 105). I believe this has been discontinued. I’ve finished a couple of bottles of this over the years and have always liked it. I expect I will again as this is from a 2010 bottling (which was probably what my last ex-bottle was as well—my spreadsheet says I finished it in December 2011). Of course, these days a lot of Macallan’s whisky is NAS but it’s now mostly all colour-coded as we’re all apparently children. And I don’t think they put out any official cask strength whisky anymore.

I do have to say that the CS always seemed like an outlier in their lineup even before they went to the paintbox series. What I mean is that Macallan has always been associated with drinkability and a mellow palette of flavours (I don’t meant this in a pejorative sense at all) and the CS was always rather unruly. So maybe they also have greater “brand “conformity now across the lineup? I doubt that had anything to do with the decision to discontinue this expression though. Anyway, let’s get to it.

Macallan CS (60.1%; from a sample received in a swap)

Nose: Now, this is my kind of young, intense sherried whisky. Raisins, sweet cola, caramel, toffee and some graphite below it all. Orange peel below it and the cola turns to cherry cola. A bit of leather as well, and just a bit of polished oak. Water doesn’t do anything for the nose.

Palate: Very soft texture—shockingly drinkable at full strength. Caramel and toffee and a bit of cocoa powder and then a simpler, sweeter note as I swallow. Hints of molasses on subsequent sips as the sweetness gets darker. After some time the orange peel begins to poke through here as well. And with more time there’s more wood as well, but it’s not obtrusive in any way. Water emphasizes the toffee and caramel and brings out some milky coffee as well.

Finish: Long. The caramel is the lasting note here with bits of dried tangerine peel running through it. Gets more bitter as it goes. Water washes the finish out a bit too.

Comments: At first I had a feeling this bottle had been open for a long time before Michael poured this sample—I didn’t recall any of my bottles (which I went through at a rapid rate) being as mellow in terms of mouthfeel as this was at first. But it began to heat up after a while and I think it might just be the case that the Glenfarclas 105 numbed my tongue—nonetheless, much softer at 60.1% than I remember any of my bottles being. But whatever the reason, this profile is what I remember falling in love with when I first tasted the Macallan 12 a decade ago: soft, caramelly goodness. Okay, I need to see if I can find some of these old bottles in stores.

Rating: 87 points.

Thanks to Michael K. for the sample!

4 thoughts on “Macallan CS

  1. Perfect timing on this review! I just had a wee sip of a Macallan Cask Strength this past Saturday. I’m usually a bit ho hum on Macallan and was pleasantly surprised by this. Loved the heavy dose of spicy dried fruit and the long dry finish. Tasty stuff!


    • On the other hand, you CAN sell people on the idea that age doesn’t matter to what they’re drinking if said age is just simply omitted from the label, and on the idea that people CAN be “whisky experts” without knowing, or often just conveniently forgetting, that cask maturation is a time-sensitive process, so the foundation that the industry IS largely selling to people with childish mentalities is pretty well established.


  2. I’m still pissed at Macallan for dropping this one. An absolutely great whisky that took to water very well, changing and improving with each drop if add. It was both fun and interesting to start neat and slowly add water over an hour or more, nosing and tasting. I just wish I could find a store with a few dusty bottles.


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