By Kurt Maitland
During a recent trip to Hong Kong, my dear friend, Leslie let me have a taste of the Macallan Gran Reserva that she had in her liquor cabinet…for which I am eternally grateful. The Macallan Gran Reserva was discontinued a while back. If you want a taste, you need generous friends or deep pockets. Follow the attached and you’ll see a bottle being sold for £1200.00. You might get it cheaper at auction but probably not for that much cheaper. So what are you missing?
The link above describes Macallan’s Gran Reserva series: “Another of the hugely popular Macallan Gran Reserva series, released around the turn of the century. These releases were made in small batches from casks that were too good to be vatted into the standard 18yo release and are highly prized by collectors today.”
That definitely sounds like what I had the pleasure of drinking.
Nose – Sweet with hints of sherry
Color – A rich reddish brown
Taste (Neat) – The nose is deceptively sweet. Smooth to the tongue that slowly builds to an amazing burn. In the Gran Reserva the sherry is not a separate entity that you hit first before you fall into the whiskey underneath, which is the case in some younger sherry cask whiskeys that I’ve had. Time has mellowed the sherry’s natural sweetness so it is not the dominant taste that fades as the whiskey takes over but is welded to this whiskey like a glove to make for a fine partnership. The 18 Year Old Gran Reserva is less like the excellent Macallan’s Sherry Oak 12 Yr Old expression and more like a Macallan Fine Oak 21 Yr Old with hints of sherry.
Taste (with a bit of water) – Less burn, a little more sweetness and a drier aftertaste. In my opinion it loses just a little of its distinctive flavor with water. The age of the expression seems to have mellowed it enough that I preferred it straight up.
$700 – $1500 US, if you can find it. It is an amazing and it’s a shame it’s no longer in regular circulation. I loved it, but I don’t know that I’ll be rushing out to buy it soon.