“I have to eat haggis with my Aunt Agnes,” said Randy Adams, brand ambassador for The Macallan, single malt scotch that’s been distilled since 1824. Adams visited Ohio in March and explained how he became enamored of all things Scottish. Although he lives in Florida, his Scottish wife, Nicola, has a house in Morningside, a suburb of Edinburgh. Randy and Nicola go there every June and observe traditions such as sipping Macallan.
Scotch whisky is made from a mash of cereals, matured in oak casks in Scotland for a minimum of three years and must be bottled at a minimum strength of 40 percent alcohol by volume. Blended scotch is made at more than one distillery from a combination of malted barley and other cereals. Single malt Scotch whisky is distilled at a single distillery entirely from malted barley. Cognoscenti consider single malts the pinnacle of the genre.
Adams had ideal conditions for introducing single malts to Buckeye palates – it really was a dark and stormy night. We sampled Macallan 12 first. Aged 12 years in sherry oak barrels, it went down smoothly and had hints of maple syrup. Macallan 15 is aged in white oak barrels. “This pours 100 flavors in the glass. It’s lighter and more mixable,” Adams noted. We couldn’t detect every flavor but thought this warming elixir was made for ice cubes.
Then Adams brought out the big McGillicuddy: Macallan Cask Strength. It bears a red label and is almost 120 proof. “It’s straight out of the barrel and red means warning,” Adams admonished. Cask strength is mahogany-colored, has a nose of dried fruits, vanilla and wood smoke plus a lingering, full finish.
Adams’ assessment was correct: “You don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy scotch.”