17 April 2008

The Macallan

You have to love a malt that goes by "The." You don't ask for "Macallan," mate, you ask for "The Macallan." I suppose if you asked for "a" Macallan you might get something else? I wonder. Pet peeve digression: when you log on to alcohol sites they ask your age, and give you a pull-down or pop-up window with years to select. They start with 2008! Are you telling me a baby is logging in to check out the webpage? Shouldn't they skip the first, say, 18 years and start the menu with 1990? I feel old when I have to scroll past all those dates to get to MCMLIX, damnit. But that is no matter. My whisky calendar features a, excuse me, the Macallan 18-year old. I had to settle recently for the 12, woe is me, since I'm loathe to plunk down 130 quid for a bottle of the old stuff. Nonetheless, this whisky is dominated by sherry flavors. It has an amazing sweetness and rich, floral quality to the nose. I'm usually a rough-and-tumble seaside malt kind of guy, with lots of smoke and peat, but the Macallan will make a Spey-sider out of the most devoted Hebridean whisky fan. (n.b. The River Spey in Scotland is like the Napa Valley of single malts, and it is famous for smooth, easy-to-like spirits. Malts from the islands are known for their pungency and quirkiness. Warning: gross generalization.) In fact, The Macallan is a great malt to serve a whisky novice. It has all the richness and subtlety of a great malt, but the balanced, smooth, sweet wine flavor is approachable and satisfying. After you get 'em hooked with The Macallan, then you can whip out the Laphroaig.

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