In a Nutshell:
On the whole this is a subtle and sweet dram – like Gold it feels like it would make a good summer and/or ‘go to’ whisky (because why not drink whisky in the summer, eh?)
That said, at this price point it also feels somewhat overvalued to me. I like it, but think I could get similar results from a slightly cheaper whisky. It is easy drinking and light enough to be… dare I say it…slightly refreshing(?)
A friend once described this one as “swimming pool fresh” with a “wet coal smell” (you can only assume he’s been doing tastings with chlorine and chunks of anthracite). I believe Amber is comparable/equivalent to Macallan’s now discontinued 12 year Sherry Oak and Fine Oak.
The Macallan Amber
Amber is the second of four in Macallan’s 1824 Series. As I understand it, these whiskies replace Macallan’s previous (age statement) core range, and continue Macallan’s tradition of relying heavily on sherry casks.
What does amber do for your mental imagery? I think of both the colour and fossilised tree resin (which is, apparently, aromatic enough to be used as ingredient in perfume). The whisky is indeed amber in colour, which has been achieved without the addition of artificial colouring.
A little bit of trivia for you – if you watch James Bond Skyfall you’ll see the Macallan appearing a couple of times (only enjoyed by the good guys, obviously). Since, apparently, no ‘product placement’ money changed hands, one of the film’s producers must be a fan. Seems legit.
We Drink It, Stuff Happens
The nose is similar to Gold – though a little more pronounced. Floral, with some honey and vanilla, though still quite light and ‘fresh’ when compared to some of the other Speyside whiskies you may have stuck your nose into lately…
Light/medium in weight. Lots of sweet honey, vanilla and dried fruit (raisins/figs maybe). Then comes some of that vanilla you’re expecting, followed by cinnamon and allspice once you let it sit on your tongue for a little while.
A tiny bit of ash comes out when you add a few drops of water (is that the sound of the purists losing their shit I hear?). Amber is ‘smooth as a china cup’, with very little burn/alcohol on the palette. Which helps you appreciate its subtleties.
Like the Gold, it’s a pretty short, but enjoyable finish. There’s a subtle floral note that lasts for a while, whilst the raisins and dried fruit linger for a little longer. In this kind of situation you could mourn the passing of this taste or try to keep the whisky in your mouth indefinitely (both of which won’t help)
A very enjoyable drink, characterizing all the things I like about Speyside. Also a well designed halfway point (in terms of flavour/’magnitude of being kicked in the mouth’) between Gold and Sienna.
Would be a great whisky to try on a whisky newbie, but is well balanced enough to be appreciated by anyone who’s been dram slamming for a while now. I guess it’s a ‘crowd pleaser’ (assuming said crowd is full of Scottish people with expensive tastes)
So yes, I enjoy Amber quite a bit, but as I said, I think you pay a little too much for what you’re getting…
With thanks to the fine people at drinks retailer 31DOVER.com who sent us a bottle of this whisky to try!