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Does The Macallan Colour its Malts w/ Caramel?

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Postby Kertie » Tue Sep 10, 2002 1:21 pm

Pardon me if I am wrong here but if G&M aged, bottled and sold Macallan under its own label isn't it G&M's property? Does Macallan have any right, legally, to buy someone else's whisky, rebottle and re-label it and put it on the open market?

Kertie
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Postby Iain » Tue Sep 10, 2002 1:28 pm

Interesting point - is it The Macallan, or should it really be called G&M- or Signatory- or whatever original bottler- Macallan? What does the (new) label say?
I promise to go to McTears next week and report back to you (I shall wear a deerstalker and carry a large magnifying glass - I always wanted to play Sherlock :-)
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Tue Sep 10, 2002 2:35 pm

Surely anyone has the right to re-bottle anything - so long as it has been obtained legally?

And surely, anyone buying that bottle has every right to have the contents clearly and fully described on the label?

Such as: Distilled by Macallan - bottled by G & M - re-bottled by Macallan, all with relevant dates etc.

Which brings me back to the original question posed in this forum - Is Macallan coloured with caramal? Despite my earlier postings, it's interesting that neither anyone from Macallan nor Mr Huurman has taken up the challenge of posting a clear answer. I wonder why!!!!!!

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Gate » Tue Sep 10, 2002 3:56 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by St.Peat:
On a different slant -- if Mannochmore colored their make with LochDont it would be nicely ambered (or more) and still a single, right? And, they would bypass E150 declaration laws, no?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Any humane regulatory system would require that to carry a declaration "Contains E666 slime from the nethermost pit. Not to be taken internally"
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Postby Ize » Wed Sep 11, 2002 8:54 am

Someone in the newsgroups had dug this link up: http://www.whisky.de/celtic/default.htm

# -marking on lists mean that the product is not coloured. Most of the Macallans aren't.

Alright, now the thing is cleared ... yhym, right? Image

Kippis,
Ize

[This message has been edited by Ize (edited 11 September 2002).]
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed Sep 11, 2002 11:22 am

Ize feels that this thing is cleared because a website indicates that most Macallans are not coloured - not all, you understand, just most!

I guess it's really for Oliver to decide if his questions which started all this have been answered to his satisfaction, but let's remind ourselves what those questions were -

Does the label on The Macallan indicate that the folks at The Macallan uses colouring of some sort? (i.e caramel or other) If so, which variants?

So even if the website indicates that most Macallans are not coloured, does it therefore
indicate that the remainder are? Which is what Oliver asked.

Visting websites, reading bottle labels, relying on people with very very good sources at Highland Park seem to me to very roundabout and time-consuming ways - Oliver posted his questions nearly two weeks ago! -
of getting a simple straight forward answer
which would take someone at The Macallan less than two minutes to post on this forum.

So why no definitive statement from The Macallan? Perhaps they don't consider this forum worthy of a reply? Or perhaps they don't want to dignify what they might consider to be idiotic questions with a response? Or perhaps they don't even know about this forum? Or perhaps they hope that they can rely on people like Huurman and Ize to convince everyone that Macallan are innocent of such behaviour?

Life gets tedious, don't it?

Cheers


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Postby Ize » Wed Sep 11, 2002 12:36 pm

Heh, I knew this wasn't over. Image

Anyway, that Internet shop situates in Germany where it is obligatory to inform whether E150 is used or not. That's why I trust quite a much to that information on that site. And Highland Park 12 Y.O. and Lagavulin 16 Y.O. that I have bought from different Internet shop in Germany had E150 marking on their labels. I will check some other bottles too (too bad I don't own any Macallan, but friend of mine could not found E150 marking from 12 Y.O. Macallan) but I expect them to be E150 free since the colour on them isn't that dark like Longmorn 15 or Redbreast. Hmmm, Black Bottle is quite dark, that will interesting to see.

Kippis,
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Sep 11, 2002 3:33 pm

Hi,

It's very simple, to find out your self abou the colouring, it doesn't need a person from Macallan to tell you that.
Go to their website www.themacallan.com then go to "The Range"then go to the topic "Pilars of Wisdom" that should give you answer, and if that doesn't help....then it's time to persuade some one from Highlnad Distillers to join this forum.

Slainte,

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Postby Iain » Thu Sep 12, 2002 8:02 am

Thanks Erik - we now have an official answer. _The Macallan_ does not have colouring added. This is what it (or rather Charlie Maclean) says on the site:

The Macallan achieves its deep, amber
colour through natural cask marrying
without the addition of any colouring

But what about other Macallans that are rebottled by The Macallan from other company(ies)' bottlings of spirit obtained from the distillery? Will/Can Macallan state that the original bottler(s) did or did not add caramel?

Not so elementary after all, my dear Watson ;-)
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Thu Sep 12, 2002 9:18 am

Iain's response to Erik's latest defence of The Macallan raises a couple of interesting points.

Firstly, the Macallan website does carry the
disclaimer he quotes. But then he suggests that the words are actually those of Charles Maclean - not the Macallan's. Or are they the same thing?


Secondly, Iain raises the question of the re-bottling under the Macallan name of whisky already bottled by G & M. He asks if the Macallan statement about colouring will also apply to those re-bottlings.

Ize tells us that the German website he quotes uses the # mark to indicate that colouring has not been added. As he says, most of the Macallan listed have that mark.


BUT the G & M bottlings listed do not! So presumably they could contain added colour.

What's more, three of the Macallan own bottlings listed DO NOT have that mark,
the 1881 Gran Reserva, the 25 yo and the 18 yo. So does this indicate that these three expressions could contain added colour?

Erik, it's time to make that call to Highland Distillers!

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Iain » Tue Sep 17, 2002 7:58 am

I had a look at the rebottled Macallans at McTear's pre-auction viewing. Strangely, the labels don't say which company originally bottled the whisky.

Curiouser and curiouser...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Sep 18, 2002 3:30 pm

Hi Iain,

Had a quick look at the McTears site, and yest they had a first bottle edition and a second in 2002. Maybe The macallan found some bottles and decided to rebottle them at Macallan, some sort of a "New Age"style who know's? I'm working on it, try to reach someone at Macallan, for some comment...

Slainte,

Erik

P.S. Maybe Martin Green can shine some light to this matter...(Or perhaps Sherlock)
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Postby Kertie » Thu Sep 19, 2002 5:59 am

Erik I think it's common knowledge that they have rebottled someone else's "Macallan" and resold it as their own. My question .. again.. should they be allowed to (legally or morally) without declaring it on the label? How much profit are they making?>
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed Sep 25, 2002 10:03 am

Well, I guess we will never know!

I have been waiting with bated breath for a
posting from the Macallan or from Erik to settle the original question about putting colour into the Macallan - and also the point that came up about the re-bottling of the Gordon & McPhail whisky.

Is this the equivalent of our Fifth Amendment - I decline to answer in case I incriminate myself?

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Iain » Wed Sep 25, 2002 10:46 am

I read with interest the item by John Haycock in this latest edition of Whisky Mag. Have a look at what he writes under "Fakes." I wish he could tell us more - eg: are any Scotch whisky companies buying bottles from the Italian dealers he refers to?
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed Sep 25, 2002 10:58 am

I have checked out that article , Iain,
and see what you mean about Fakes

Spooky, eh?

Especially when you couple it with the
definition of Fat Cat in the same article!

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Sep 25, 2002 4:09 pm

Hi guys,

I'm back again. I spoke today with Master Distiller David Robertson from The Macallan Distillery, and he said(like I said it too)that Macallan doesn't use any caramel at all.
And as for the rebottlings(the vintages at McTears), they bought some bottles back, simply because they didn't had any casks from the 20's and 30's, and ofcourse before they rebottled, they checked them, and nosed them, just to make shure that they have The Macallan quality.........
Perhaps David drops in, and have look at this discussion, but what I wrote down is what he said, so draw your own conclusions....

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Thu Sep 26, 2002 8:14 am

Erik

Thanks for your message and for going to the trouble of getting an answer from the Macallan.

It would be really nice if David showed some respect to us all over what is clearly a very fundamental question by posting his comments

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Iain » Thu Sep 26, 2002 10:02 am

I think we all agree Macallan doesn't add caramel to the whisky it bottles. But Macallan was not the original bottler of these new "rebottled" Macallans which are being advertised for sale.

Who supplied them? Was the whisky coloured by the original bottler? If so, has Mac devised a way to remove caramel :-) It doesn't seem unreasonable to ask such questions about such expensive (if second-hand) products.
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Fri Sep 27, 2002 3:42 pm

I'm beginning to wish I'd never got into this,but now I have I can't seem to let it go!- but after this message, I won't post any more comments, I'll be too busy sampling replacements for the Macallan I regularly drink!

Sorry, Iain but I for one don't agree that Macallan does not use caramel for colouring
because I just do not know if that is the truth, and don't see how I can until we get a definitive commitment from them.

If they don't, why does the German website not indicate this for at least 3 of the Macallan bottlings?

And if they are re-bottling coloured whisky,
how valid is the statement on their own website that they do not use colouring of any sort? Have they taken that statement off the website since they started selling the re-bottled product? Or as Iain says, have they found a way to extract the colouring
before re-bottling?

And don't forget, Oliver's original question was not just about using caramel for colouring, it was about any form of colouring!

Cheers

Rudolph

A sadder but no wiser man
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Sep 28, 2002 2:11 pm

Ok guys,

I I think the reason why Macallan does some re-bottlings, is simply because they probably didn't have them anymore.....

Perhaps this case is closed...

"Elementry my dear Watson"

Slainte Mhath,

Erik
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Postby Gate » Sun Sep 29, 2002 9:27 am

What I get from this is that any Macallan that I can afford to buy has not had caramel added to it. I think I can put off worrying about the very rare and expensive re-bottlings until after I've won the Lottery.
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Postby Iain » Wed Oct 02, 2002 7:56 am

Ok then Rudolph, how about this to sum up the results of much debate and 57 postings...

1) Macallan states catagorically that it does not add caramel to bottlings of The Macallan.

2) Some bottles of The Macallan appear to contain caramel.

Case closed, unless someone from Macallan can add further enlightenment?
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Postby Rudolph Hucker » Wed Oct 02, 2002 8:05 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Iain:
Ok then Rudolph, how about this to sum up the results of much debate and 57 postings...

1) Macallan states catagorically that it does not add caramel to bottlings of The Macallan.

2) Some bottles of The Macallan appear to contain caramel.

Case closed, unless someone from Macallan can add further enlightenment?[/B]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Iain

Agreed!

Cheers

Rudolph
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Postby Oliver » Thu Oct 03, 2002 2:26 am

Thanks to all for your comments.
I must say that I hadn't seen (noticed?) that The Macallan denied using any caramel on their web site until this discusion got going. Then again I may be suffering from delusions of grandeur...
Thanks again to our Scandinavian and German friends for the info.
One last question if I may: does any one know for a fact (i.e., legally required labeling) whether The Macallan Gran Reserva contains any caramel. It just looks so dark!!
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Oct 03, 2002 2:53 pm

Hi Oliver,

The reason why your Macallan "Gran Reserva" looks so dark is that, the color is very natural(a teint somewhere between 87 en 95), wich means that each sherry cask has its own color, no cask is the same. Macallan doesnt use any caramel(E150) at all, its their policy, I would like to refer you to my comment earlyer on page 2, that I had a conversation with David Robertson, Master Distiller from Macallan, and he stated to me that they don't use any color at all. Some time ago I was at the Macallan distillery, and I saw different samples of Macallan standing in a row, and they all had differend colors, and its just the wood who was responsible for this.....

I hope that this answer your question.

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby St.Peat » Thu Oct 03, 2002 4:09 pm

Erik, Oliver, all --

The Macallan must have vast stores of casks maturing in warehouses ... yes? Even if all variables are as 'managed' and 'controlled' as possible, each cask filled on a certain day will taste somewhat different. If Mr Robertson (or whomever) selects casks for the Gran Reserva with an eye for colour consistency it stands to reason that the flavour profile would change ever so slightly each batch. I have heard people who love that malt say that that has happened -- the malt changes taste each time it is bottled. If they were selecting casks based on taste consistency then each bottling would taste more or less the same, but the colour would be different.

It seems that in the case of the Gran Reserva The Macallan has opted to shoot for visual appearance and sacrifice marginally the exactness of taste.

St.Peat Image

[This message has been edited by St.Peat (edited 03 October 2002).]
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Postby Ize » Fri Oct 04, 2002 5:34 am

A bit off-topic, since I will not talk about Macallan, but since the claimed reason for colouring is to even colour differencies between the bottles. Well, most of the whiskies are not bottled as single cask so anyway the different casks are mixed with other casks before bottling ... I would imagine the colour difference would be very small in such a process. Of course, if one want to even colour differencies between the batches or different years, that could be done with colouring and in this way the bottles on the shop shelves would not differ from each other, like that would be a real problem. But still would there be so much differencies between different batches if so then there must be differencies with the taste too, why they won't try to even that thing up then. Image

Kippis,
Ize
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Postby Gate » Fri Oct 04, 2002 12:09 pm

The Gran Reserva is all first-fill sherry casks and an 18-year-old, isn't it? That would, to go by some of the single-cask bottlings I have (Cadenheads/SMWS, guaranteed no added caramel) and have seen/tasted, produce a very dark whisky by itself. It strikes me as weird that the Macallan's vatters would mix to get a consistent match for that really dark brown, which I find not very attractive for whisky, rather than mixing for consistent flavour. I mean, who buys a limited-release premium bottling whisky for colour first and taste second? Still, different strokes for different folks, I suppose. Myself, I reckon 18 years in a first-fill sherry cask is just too long for anything. Except sherry.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sat Oct 05, 2002 9:59 am

St Peat, Ize, Gate, -all

The Gran Reserva changes from time to time, not only the color consistancy is important, but what's more important is the smell and taste, and above all the quality, and yes by that the color might change a little, but is that a problem if you have a good quality dram? Well not for me anyway. St Peat is right each cask has its own identity(color,smell,flavor) It's mainly made out of first fill casks, so you get the full benefit of the sherry, the color, and all the aroma's in it. I can say for my self: "I just love the stuff".

Slainte,

Erik
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Postby Kertie » Mon Oct 07, 2002 8:59 am

Why hasn't anyone mentioned paxerete?
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Postby Ize » Mon Oct 07, 2002 10:03 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Arial, Verdana">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Kertie:
Why hasn't anyone mentioned paxerete? <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Now, there's a word my vocabulary does not recognise ... so what's paxerete? Even Google could not hint me out. Image
Or is it just mistyped?

Kippis,
Ize
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Postby lexkraai » Mon Oct 07, 2002 11:27 am

Paxarete is derived from a sweet wine, based in Pedro Ximenez grapes. In the past, paxarete was used to pressure-treat casks in order to speed up some aspects of the maturation process. FAIK, it's not in use anymore, but you can't prove a negative, of course ...

Cheers, Lex
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Postby Ize » Mon Oct 07, 2002 11:54 am

Thanks Lex,

not a day without learning something new. Image

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Postby Iain » Tue Oct 08, 2002 8:03 am

I believe paxarette can also be used to treat a plain or old cask, which will then impart to its contents the colour and flavour of a whisky matured in a "real" sherry cask. For more info, see Gavin Smith's book, the A-Z of Whisky.
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