Review: Macallan Ruby

Today’s review is of a whisky I wasn’t super interested in trying from a range I thought was a waste of time. If that doesn’t set my expectations here, nothing will.

The recently-discontinued Macallan 1824 Range was Macallan’s answer to dwindling aged stocks and increased demand (and increased greed). Just a few years after the Chivas “Age Matters” marketing campaign, Macallan responded with a range that implied that “color matters”. Ok. I appreciate that Macallan is proud of the fact that they aren’t adding caramel coloring to their whisky but color is one small part of the equation. The cask types, age, and strength all play important roles in the final product. The series consisted of four bottlings: Gold, Amber, Sienna, and Ruby and as the colors get darker and redder, the price goes up. Ruby is supposed to be the highest aged and deepest colored of the four with the largest price tag. The whole series sounded like a sham from day one so I never had any interest in trying it.

However, the always generous @thescotchwhisperer on Instagram shared a sample of this with me a while back and since I already had it on hand, I thought I’d see what the flagship bottle of the series had to offer.

Macallan Ruby

Macallan Ruby - 43% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Dark copper
Nose That's surprising…dried berries, heavy baking spice. Not vanilla-forward like most modern Macallan expressions. Raspberry coulis, baking chocolate, candied orange peel.
Taste Spice up front (nutmeg and clove), chocolate orange, honey, clove, vanilla, raisins. However, the lack of layers here and only hints of oak lead me to believe that there's a bunch of young whisky in this bottling.
Finish Dark chocolate and spice (more nutmeg and finally some cinnamon), some oak, an unusual hint of fresh strawberries, pretty decent length. Chocolate and a little bit of sea salt lingers around the longest.
Overall Thoughts This reminds me more of "classic" Macallan (aka decent sherry) than most of the stuff they've put out lately. I wasn't really interested in trying the 1824 series but I got a sample of this so I gave it a shot. Honestly, this one beat some pretty low expectations so that was a pleasant surprise. The only knocks on this come from the influence of younger whisky which is evident in Macallan from the "fresh" tasting nose and lack of oak and depth. NAS scares me with Macallan as I think they really take the liberty of using plenty of young stuff in their NAS expressions. If the proportion of young stuff in this wasn't so young, this would really shine.
Total Score 84/100