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Whisky Reviews

The Macallan Harmony Collection - Amber Meadow & Green Meadow

The Quick and Dirty:

Both are marginally good sippers and are evenly matched quality-wise, but I personally prefer the Green Meadow for its significantly fresher, creamier and more fruit-forward aroma.

 

Let's dive into The Macallan's Harmony Collection III, the third iteration of their very popular annual release that they’ve been weaving nature and sustainability into their whisky narrative. After a theme of cacao (Harmony I) and arabica coffee (Harmony II) this year’s theme is Scotland's undulating grasslands and bountiful barley fields.

The Harmony Collection always has a knack for infusing elements of its theme into its presentation. Remember the Rich Cacao and Fine Cacao with their brown labels and boxes made from discarded cacao pods? (Reviewed here) Or the Intense Arabica and Smooth Arabica, similarly attired but made with discarded coffee husks? (Reviewed here) This year, the boxes are once again the same old familiar brown, and they’re telling us that some discarded meadow cuttings are used to make the box and labels. Admittedly, their addition feels a bit like Stan Lee’s cameo appearances in several older Marvel movies – pretty cool and symbolic but not plot-changing.

 

Mary and Stella, are notable photographers/filmmakers and fashion designers respectively. Both are daughters of Paul McCartney of the legendary British band, The Beatles.

 

This year, the Harmony Collection is also wrapped up in a collaboration with Stella and Mary McCartney. The duo, known for their forays into the fashion world and beyond, brings a touch of star-studded allure to the table. It's a savvy move by The Macallan, linking arms with these renowned names to sprinkle a bit of extra charm over their brand.

Although the McCartney sisters were born in London, their father, Beatles-famous Paul McCartney, owns a farm in Kintyre where he would often take his family. The sisters have fond childhood memories of playing in the meadows by their Scottish farm – probably intended as a getaway from the bustle and paparazzi of big city living.

 

 

The McCartney sisters have also designed a 'Together Collection' set of luxury lifestyle items to complement the whisky set. Think glassware, bowls, and a very cute ceramic whisky flask that might just remind you of a Rothko painting.

 

 

The whiskies themselves? The leading expression of Amber Meadow comes in at 44.2% ABV. The Green Meadow, meanwhile, is a travel retail exclusive with a 40.2% ABV. Both are matured in a mix of sherry and bourbon casks. The Green Meadow is said to represent the essence of spring while the Amber Meadow represents autumn.

 

 

I recently attended their launch event, which is always amusing in itself when you see the lengths that Macallan’s marketing goes to. Instead of drinking whisky, most of my time was spent exploring their specially made indoor garden corridor, brimming with live plants and vibrant flowers. There’s a heady floral aroma.

 

 

The air was filled with a light mist – perhaps more to nourish the live plants than the guests. They even had a spot for me to make my own dried floral arrangement and frame it up, so why not, right? Now, I must admit, the whole setup, while impressive, does make you wonder about the actual sustainability of such a grandiose affair. But then again, when you're sipping whisky in a faux meadow, such concerns tend to drift away.

 

The Macallan Harmony Collection ‘Green Meadow’ Single Malt, 40.2% ABV – Review

 

Colour: Sunflower oil.

Nose: Sweet, bright, estery and floral – it’s rather expressive in aroma. Opens with an inviting aroma of fresh honey yuzu, before offering a grassy, post-rain petrichor quality that is actually reminiscent of a wet meadow. A pleasant hint of green honeydew and Pokka Green Tea emerges, bringing a light, sweetly herbaceous note, and there’s also just-as-present honey, fresh cream. Undertones of brown sugar and caramel add depth.

Palate: A continuation of the nose - the palate is equally fresh and bright with an array of soft orchard fruits, with dominant notes of vanilla and honey that meld seamlessly with delicate floral undertones. There’s a gentle hint of light marzipan that adds complexity, though the oak influence remains very subtle. It’s overall very clean and bright, no oak dryness detected at all.

Finish: Moderately long, predominantly featuring sweet cream and persisting light spices that gently linger on the palate. Just a hint of cocoa.

 

My Thoughts:

At just 40.2% ABV, this whisky does a very good job. It’s not a typical Macallan because this is very American ex-bourbon oak leaning. But it’s flavourful, fruity, easy to drink and very clean – no off-notes you can pick on whatsoever. As with many of the recent Macallan’s I’ve enjoyed, the nose stands out for its expressiveness and vibrance.

The very subtle wet grass-like aroma is a nice touch too, considering the theme of it.

Overall, this earns a solid 6/10 stars from me.

My Rating for the Green Meadow: 6/10

Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.

The Macallan Harmony Collection ‘Amber Meadow’ Single Malt, 44.2% ABV – Review

 

Colour: Amber.

Nose: It isn’t as bright or estery as the Green Meadow, but it does open with a richer depth and robustness. There’s vanilla and honey are present but not as bright or expressive, and there’s a more syrupy impression with richer notes of dates and red fruits.

Palate: Leans towards a more classic Macallan profile, displaying a stronger sherry influence. It's slightly punchier but it yet maintains a fresh, clean character. Rich malt notes are evident, along with a prominent but well-balanced oakiness. After a bit of airing, the dram reveals further layers of fruitiness with caramel, raspberries, red tea and roasted nuts becoming more discernible.

Finish: Slightly longer than that of Green Meadow, characterised by a persisting mild oakiness with caramel.

 

My Thoughts:

This is closer to a Macallan classic, but I find myself leaning towards the Green Meadow over this one. Those who appreciate a richer and more flavourful profile might favour this Amber Meadow. But although this expression is indeed slightly richer and slightly punchier, it still remains very cautious and friendly – not quite the intensity that I seek in cask strength whiskies. For me it’s go big or go home. Give me a Milo Dinosaur or just give me water, yenno?

That said, I can understand why Macallan prefers doing a middle-ground approach to make all their whiskies friendly and accessible to the broader public. But to me, it just feels too safe, too non-committal. In contrast, the Green Meadow fully embraces its fresh, fruity path.

My preference for Green Meadow are just that – personal preferences. This is not mind-blowing but still fairly solid, so it earns a 6/10 stars.

My Rating for the Amber Meadow: 6/10

Score/Rating Scale :

  • 9-10 : Exceptional, highly memorable, 10/10 would buy if I could.
  • 7-8 : Excellent, well above most in its category, worth considering buy-zone.
  • 4-6 : Good, okay, alright; a few flaws, but acceptable; not bad, but not my personal preference; still worth trying, could be a buy if the price is right.
  • 1-3 : Not good; really did not enjoy; wouldn't even recommend trying.
  • 0 : Un-scored, might be damaged, new make, or very unusual.

@CharsiuCharlie