Macallan Enigma


”Macallan Vs. Oakenfold”


Whisky Review # 922
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Macallan Enigma - Quest Collection
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Bottled 2017
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 44.9%
Maturation: First Fill European Oak Sherry-Seasoned Butts and Hogsheads from a single cooperage-partner, Tevasa in Jerez de la Fronteira
Chill Filtration: Probably
Price Range: US$ 240-360 (July 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Extremely expensive for a NAS Whisky
Buying Advice: 😃/😔 Well-made but very expensive Sherried Speysider. 

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

Wafts of Sweet Oloroso and PX Sherry and Fresh European Wood are certainly the first impressions. Dark Fruit and Nuts lead the way in this reasonably Dry mix of Sweet, Sour, Dusty, Woody, Meaty and Spicy notes. The Alcohol is well-integrated. Very good cask management. It's a one-way Sherry street for sure but it's nicely done.

Main Aromas:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Buttered Bread, Demerara Sugar, Candied Orange Peel,  Dark (Dried) Fruit like Sultanas, Apricots, Plums, Prunes & Dates, Dark Chocolate, Mixed Nuts including Candied Almonds, Dusty Oak, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Yeast, Straw, Red Apple, Banana-Bread, Herbs, Strawberry flavored Yogurt, Peaches in Sour-Cream, Meat-Broth, Soy Sauce, Nutmeg, Pepper and Menthol.


Palate:

Medium-Dry and perhaps a little on the Thin side despite the adequate ABV. I think that an ABV of 47/48% would be even better in this case. On the Palate the casks take control and Dark (Dried) Fruit, Nuts, Spices and Oak lead the way. I quite like this mix of Sweet, Sour and mildly Bitter flavors with a nice Salty and slightly Meaty touch. 

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Dried Fruits such as Sultanas, Raisins, Apricots, Plums and Dates, Candied Orange, Candied Almonds, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Honey, Yeast, Straw, Red Apple, Banana Pie, slightly Sour Berries, Meat Broth and Herbs.


Finish:

Middle-Long, perhaps slightly on the Thin side and a mix of Sweet, Sour and mildly Bitter notes. Well-Balanced in this respect. Flavor-wise the Dried Fruit, Oak & Spice are back in force. A nice Salty touch as well. I find Toasted/Malted Barley, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Toffee, Honey, Straw, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Apricots, Plums and Dates, Red Apple, Candied Orange, Banana Bread, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Dusty Oak and a hint of Iron bars. Medium-Dry.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Macallan.

Rating: 86

Nose: 22 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat:

Good.

Conclusion:

The Macallan distillery was founded in 1824 by Alexander Reid and is located in the village of Craigellachie (Morayshire). The majority of the shares is owned by the Edrington Group. The current production lies at around 11.5 million litres per year. The Quest collection was launched in 2017/2018 to replace the 1824 Collection that consisted a.o. of Gold, Amber, Siena and Ruby. While these series focused on color, the new Quest collection that consists of Quest, Lumina, Terra and Enigma focuses on Oak. The Quest collection was initially launched on the Travel Retail market and does not bear an age-statement.

If you like well-made sherried Speysiders and you've got the cash, this Macallan will work out fine for you. It presents a nice combination of Sweet, Sour, slightly Bitter and Dusty notes with a touch of Salt. It's just a little too much on the Thin side to call it a total Sherry-Bomb though. A slightly higher ABV would have really done that trick in my opinion. If you're not into sherried whisky you should leave this one alone though as it's quite one-dimensional on Dried Fruit, Nuts, Spices and Oak. In any case I have to say that the price is really too high for a NAS Whisky despite the fact that good casks were used for this Enigma. And that's a pity 😞.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                              July 7, 2021

All Pictures Taken During Our Visit in May 2014

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