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Macallan Revamps Basic Range To NAS — Dramming
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Macallan Revamps Basic Range To NAS

by Oliver Klimek on June 27, 2012

Yesterday Macallan invited a selection of important whisky people to Easter Elchies for a special presentation. It turned out to be big news indeed.

Beginning this autumn in the UK market, the new 1824 Series will be introduced, three no-age-statement 100% sherry cask expressions named after their respective colours: Gold, Sienna and Ruby. They will replace the 10 to 15 year old Sherry Oak and Fine Oak expressions. The older expressions like the flagship 18 yo Sherry Oak will supposedly remain on the shelves.

What does this mean? Well, the most important aspect definitely is the complete removal of age statement bottlings from the lower end of the product range which is a thing unheard of in the Scotch single malt market. Many distilleries have affordable NAS bottles in their range, but there is always at least one entry level expression with an age statement, the bread and butter bottle, so to speak.

This is a bold move, and it remains to be seen, if it will be successful. Back in 2008 Macallan launched the NAS 1824 Collection in the travel retail market (am I the only one to sense a potential for major confusion among casual buyers here?), and there were reports about those bottles having a hard time getting bought. Macallan has been promoting age statement and vintage bottles for decades, and they are one of the distilleries where there is a noticeable correlation between age and quality. So I would not be surprised if some faithful long-time customers suddenly feel lost when the price will be the only indication of where an expression is located within the product range.

Another interesting aspect is the possibly approaching death of the Macallan Fine Oak range. It has never really caught on since it was introduded in 2004. The introduction of bourbon cask maturation felt like a sacrilege to many lovers of the style that has made Macallan a leading single malt brand. So we actually may witness the beginning of the end of that diversion from the Proper Path here.

As for the reason why the product range will be so drastically changed, optimization of supply and demand is always a solid guess. Logically I will refrain from any speculation about quality or bang-for-the-buck potential until I have tasted the range.

By the way, the RRP for the new Macallan Gold will be £35.99. The 10 yo Sherry and Fine Oak currently sell for about £30 in the UK.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Gal Granov גל גרנוב (@galg) June 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

A bold move.
this is how we call “are they nuts”!? now?
i never really liked the fine oak stuff, but man, the 12 YO is good. and people who buy macallan cause they know the brand name and no more would love to see age statement.
this one is really weird weird stuff.


Tony June 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm

they recently did two NAS for the Whisky Shop, one priced about £33 (masters deition), the other £40 (directors). The cheaper one was very young and spirity, not that good at all imo. The directors one was ok, not amazing but very drinkable


Alan June 27, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Wait – does this mean no more of the standard Macallan 12?


Oliver Klimek June 27, 2012 at 8:02 pm

People who attended the event were reporting this yesterday. And note that so far only the UK market is mentioned.


Miguel June 28, 2012 at 1:18 am

Bad news! I will have to buy them.

I am sure they are now bottling the “very best from the warehouse” as “age isn’t an important factor in whisky quality”. I tasted 1824 range and it is a bit better than the standard range. Still 25yo is my favorite.


Keith June 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

So did Oliver finally get his deserved recognition amongst the influential & famous with a high-profile distillery trip?


Oliver Klimek June 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Looks I am still not famous enough to be invited… But I eagerly followed the live reports of the influential 😉


Keith June 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm

How sad, but maybe your ice balls had something to do with that 🙂


Oliver Klimek June 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm

could well be 😉


Steffen Brauner June 28, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Patience is history 🙂



Pit Krause June 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm

Fine Oak was a success from a business point of view…


Oliver Klimek June 30, 2012 at 8:09 am

If that is true, then it is even more puzzling why they are taking this risk now. Well, we shall see how everything will work out.


Markus Nilsson July 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

This is where whisky is going now with less older casks in the warehouses. I think this is a move that more producers will make in the coming years, while only Chivas Brothers will pull in a different direction among the big players.


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