The images one conjures when asked to think of a typical whisky drinker are almost universally a) male, b) above 50 and c) gruff-voiced. Equally, if asked to explain the general taste of whisky, you would likely give answers along the lines of strong, smokey and sharp – not particularly alluring adjectives for any potential converts. However, the whisky community have taken great pains to shake this old-school image in the hopes that a softer aesthetic might appeal to a younger, more inclusive crowd. Any fan of a dram will insist that the flavour spectrum of whisky is the most diverse, complex and intriguing of all spirits and that no matter your tastes, there will be a malt to match…and then they might roll their eyes when you ask if you could try it first, on ice. Snobs.
So, what makes a good entry-level whisky? Let me introduce you to The Macallan Gold. This unassuming tipple from The Macallan’s new un-aged collection contains everything required to proselytise the uninitiated – it’s light, completely unpeated and has The Macallan’s trademark elegance and smoothness. The distillery’s impeccable reputation as the crème de la whisky ensures a certain level of quality, while the more wallet-friendly price of £36 per 70cl bottle means that it’s more approachable to those who aren’t surefire fans.
The nose is at first one of gentle citrus and orange peel with wisps of dark chocolate and vanilla before opening up to a more floral bouquet underlaid with light oak notes. On the palate, The Macallan Gold brings a more full-bodied punch of aromatic spice, toasted apples and candied sweetness. The finish is mildly sweet, a little oily and slightly dry, betraying its short fermentation period.
While the Gold might not turn many heads within the world of seasoned whisky drinkers, the unpretentious simplicity of the body makes it a perfect bedfellow for anyone looking to dip their toes into the amber waters of Scotland’s namesake spirit, as well as those already comfortable splashing in its shallows.
Scotch whisky appreciation takes dedication, time and practice, and the sheer volume of flavours, textures and personalities would take a (happy) lifetime to nose through. There are countless friendly drams out there just waiting to tell you their story; buy a bottle of The Macallan Gold, get acquainted, and then have her introduce you to her more idiosyncratic siblings.
Melanie Chenoweth is a London based, freelance food writer and photographer. If you can eat it, she’ll snap it. Then eat it. Then write about it.
Photographs courtesy of The Macallan