It would be easy for The Macallan to rest on its laurels. It has one of the most popular and acclaimed single malts, even though the brand’s reputation has slipped a bit among cognoscenti in recent years. But surely the distillery’s bills could be paid solely from the sales of its seminal 18 Year Old expression as well as the vintage bottlings that regularly set records. To its credit, the brand keeps experimenting and trying out new ideas—some more successful than others.
One of the best is the Edition series, which dives deep into different aspects of the art of whisky making. The first two in the series emphasize the different kinds of casks used for aging The Macallan; the third, The Macallan Edition No. 3 ($95), focuses on the whisky’s aroma. It was created by The Macallan’s master whisky maker, Bob Dalgarno, along with Roja Dove of Roja Parfums, who selected specific aromas based on particular oak casks.
The final blend, aged in a combination of American and European oak, has a big, fragrant aroma redolent of ripe peach, tangy orange, cinnamon, and vanilla. On the palate, it’s also powerful and fruity, with dry sherry notes and a pleasant tingle of spice. The finish is long and dry, with a hint of orange zest. Edition No. 3 is a pleasure to drink—and a dab of it behind the ears would be quite lovely, as well.