In August there are many different apples sold as "Early Mac," none of them McIntosh. In the same spirit Hutchins Farm once called this September apple an "Early Jonagold" after the Jonathan–Golden Delicious cross, though its real name is Autumn Crisp.
So: not a Jonagold that was picked too soon, but a different variety altogether.
Mine is hefty with a streaky, even blotchy, red blush over yellow. This gives an orange tinge though perhaps a shade less so than my photo implies.
Autumn Crisp is decorated with many irregularly placed light lenticels. The surface is also slightly dimpled, like a Honeycrisp.
Though my sample has an irregular shape, these are generally globular with slight ribbing. In size and color these do suggest Jonagolds, which can be huge.
The apple is quite firm and, unbroken, smells of sweet grass.
This apple has an outstanding crunch and practically explodes with juice. The flesh is a course light yellow. The first impression is plenty of sweetness, closely followed by a considerable packet of tart. Flavors are simple and generic: corn syrup, tart acidity, spice.
That's all I could get. Other flavors, if any, are obscured by the tart and the sweet. The final impression is tart.
I don't like to dislike apples, and surely there is a palate for every flavor. The irony is that in the winter or spring an apple like this, with that great crunch and busting with juice, would be a welcome change. But if Autumn Crisp is too harsh for me, I have to think that 99 of every 100 apple lovers would not go for it at all.
The real Jonagold will not make its seasonal debut until October, so no direct comparison is possible. Hutchins described it's "Early J" as Jonagold-like, but more tart. Based on my own review of Jonagold, I can see some physical resemblance, also similar textures and simplicity of flavors.
However, Jonagold's mild flavors echo those of its parent, Golden Delicious. I can't say the same thing about Autumn Crisp's.
Those Early Macs are not very Mac-like either.
Update: In 2013, Hutchins got with the program and started calling these apples by their official name. That tipped me off, and I've lightly corrected this review to use the right moniker.