Macallan Enigma (2018)
The Macallan Enigma was announced late last year as part of the Macallan Quest series, exclusively launched for travel retail. Now we know that doesn’t mean much, as I’ve seen this pop up in plenty of places that sure as hell did not qualify as travel retail. It replaced the 1824 Collection, not to be confused with the 1824 Series (the ones with all the stripper names).
One of four expressions included in the Macallan Quest series, the Enigma is the most expensive of the quartet. It is fully matured in sherry seasoned European oak casks.
Macallan Enigma (44,9%, OB, 2018)
Nose: Oak shavings, menthol and cough syrup to start, followed by a hint of balsamic, some almond paste and a pinch of brown sugar. There’s some cinnamon, apricot and ginger too. But the oak is really dominant.
Taste: The palate is a bit more agreeable, but there’s still loads of oak. Hints of raisins and dates to offset the oak, as well as honey and dried apricots. There’s definitely cinnamon again, as well as cloves.
Finish: Oak, ending on a hint of milk chocolate.
Exactly the type of oak forward, sherry matured whisky that I’m not particularly fond of. For some reason, in my head I had drawn a paralel between the Quest and the 1824 series. Each contained four whiskies, all of them darker in color the more expensive they get. The Enigma being the most pricy of the Quest series, I hoped for something more in the line of the Macallan Ruby, which is a heavily sherried, but balanced and mature whisky. The Macallan Enigma is not as balanced, and also tastes a lot more immature.
Photo: Master of Malt
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.