Why Macallan’s Edition No. 4 Is the Best in the Series

Macallan’s Edition No. 4
 Courtesy image

Having already released half a dozen great bottles this year—some costing thousands of dollars—Macallan isn’t lacking momentum. But the latest addition to the collection, Macallan Edition No. 4, proves they still have some affordable treats up their sleeve.

 

 

The “Edition” series is a loose collection of bottles associated with two themes: no age statement and prices around $100.

There are some cooked-up-in-marketing-meeting stories associated with every bottle, but all you really need to know is that when you see “Edition” and a number on a Macallan bottle, it’s going to be fairly priced and damn good. With No. 4, they’ve really hit the mark.

Sequels are rarely better than the originals, in part because they try and repeat the successes without being brave enough to push things in a new direction. But with Edition No. 4, Macallan has somehow gotten closer to the source material of what made most of us fall in love with their whisky in the first place.

When we first tasted Edition No. 1 a few years ago, there was a bit of controversy because, in a staggering bit of transparency, Macallan shared the total breakdown of every cask type used in their whisky. The only thing they didn’t include in the marketing materials? Age statements.

They did however, share them with us: You can read about it here.

The information gleaned from that interview (and from tasting the whisky) proved two things to us: 1) whisky blending is a true art form and 2) age statements don’t necessarily matter. The Edition series is one of the best examples of what scotch distillers can do without having to put a number on the bottle.

Now, as for the launch of Edition No. 4, there’s a loose backstory about how the structure of this whisky is meant as a celebration of the brand’s recently completed construction project. Macallan is using this release as an opportunity to talk about their newly renovated and reopened distillery (and its significantly increased capacity).

The company is making big pushes to bring attention to its visitor experience; and the increased capacity should help them catch up with current demand levels.

But, with respect to Macallan, it’s a bit of a stretch. Best to let the whisky speak for itself.

So we’ll do just that. No.4.

We picked up aromas of golden raisins, baked honeycomb, cherries, and toffee. On the palate, vanilla, fruitcake, butterscotch, and candied orange. This one—maybe more so than the last three iterations—is really nice to sip. It’s lively, but not overaged.

We’re not told how many years No. 4 rested before bottling, but the blend appears to be in the mid-to-late-teens from what we can tell. And that’s an amazing sweet spot for Macallan, especially for a final blend made entirely of sherry-seasoned American and European oak barrels.

Bottles like this could curb age statements for good. And, at a price point of $100, it won’t tip you into bankruptcy either.