What’s in a name? A release named Genesis carries connotations of representing commencement; something born of a fresh beginning, a new era. Released to commemorate the opening of the iconic new distillery in 2018, this release from The Macallan is said to celebrate the building and its entire visitor experience.
Far from a new beginning where the whisky is concerned, Macallan was at pains to ensure a smooth transition from old site to new, with rigorous testing over the course of the six months prior to the shift in production providing assurance that the new setup would have negligible effect on the spirit. Hopefully no new era in regard to what is in the bottle!
The building itself is undoubtedly impressive. Designed from the ground up with the visitor experience in mind, from the illusion of perception gradually revealing the scale of the place as you walk the path towards the entrance, to the beams and skylights that align to mirror the bottle design, it seems that every detail has been carefully constructed to reinforce the brand message.
One of the most notable aspects of the distillery layout is the floor from which tours operate: spacious and free from clutter wash backs, stills and spirit safes are presented to the visitor in a clean light. The welter of operational details lies on the floor below, out of sight. And much like the experience lifting the visitor above the small details of production, Macallan’s brand proposition transcends the whisky itself and establishes an expression of luxury.
As a thought experiment, if this message is successful then to what extent would it matter if the whisky produced by the new site differs from that from the old site? Given how much Macallan must sit unopened on shelves this is perhaps a purely rhetorical question.
While accepting that branding is of course omnipotent, one can only lament the loss of the potential spirit of whisky; a mainstay of marking occasions, cementing new friendships, reminiscing on old ones. Luckily this spirit is kept very much alive in the community of whisky enthusiasts, with no finer example than self-confessed Macallan fanboy Alistair — @SpiritAndWood on Twitter. Marking his own genesis moving into a new home, not only did Alistair pop the cork on a bottle of Macallan Genesis acquired at the distillery last year but also saw fit to share a few drams – including throwing it into a blind tasting as well as incredibly graciously sending a sample this way and one to the fantastic The Dramble (if this site is not on your regular-reading list, it should be!),
The Macallan Genesis will be remembered as the dram that stopped traffic; with the road leading to the distillery blocked by those eager to get their hands on a bottle. A visit to The Macallan website will tell us plenty about the distillery but precious little about the whisky – this is a no-age-statement release of 2,500 bottles, bottled at 45.5% ABV.
Dark and brooding amber with a glass-coating texture. Given the relatively low ABV this promises a classic, oily Macallan.
Silky and elegant, rich dried fruit with top notes of orange oil. There is a hint of leather and dunnage warehouses, some vanilla with a touch of tobacco leaf in the background providing earthy balance to the rich sweetness. Given time in the glass, digestive biscuits and sweet malt notes make an appearance.
A seriously big mouthfeel, mouth coating and velvet-like. A juicy burst of dried fruit opens things up, with clootie dumpling closely following. A touch of ginger and the tiniest hint of root spice provide a lifting spice, with candied orange peel adding a tart sweetness.
Finish & Final Impressions
A long, lingering finish moves towards the earthy notes of the nose with tobacco leaf alongside the pervasive dried fruit.
An altogether delightful dram, one fit for marking the most memorable of occasions. A pity that so many are doubtlessly gathering dust with the foil still in tact. Consider this a call to transcend the Macallan brand and pop those corks!
- Bottled at 45.5% ABV
My sincere gratitude to Alistair (@SpiritAndWood) for the stupendously generous sample!