Last Wednesday night our Whiskey Club gathered for its first event of 2017. What better way to ring in the new year than with some excellent single malt scotches. This particular meeting featured products from The Macallan Distillery, one of which was the newly released 12 Year old Double Cask. It received almost unanimously glowing reviews from the 50 members in attendance. For those that missed out, however, this review will hopefully inform you and perhaps tempt you to try it for yourself.
Now, Macallan has always sold a 12 year old single malt. It’s a fine whisky. To many, its a benchmark by which they judge other scotches of similar aging or price point. As far as the new 12 Year Double cask in comparison to the older 12 Year Macallan, the age statement is where the comparisons stop. To us, this new release was an excellent addition to their portfolio.
Macallan is widely known for their use of sherry cask aging in their whiskies. The previous version of the 12 year old was sherry cask finished and used European oak for their barrels. This new iteration is also aged in sherry casks, but the production is a bit more unconventional and a bit of a deviation from the norm for a distillery steeped in tradition dating back to 1824. In this version, they are combining new American oak that is sherry seasoned with their standard sherry seasoned European oak . The American oak would be the same type of wood used in Bourbon barrels. The following is a direct statement from the distillery:
“This is the first time The Macallan has used American Oak Sherry-seasoned casks as the most prominent flavor style in one of its expressions. To create Double Cask, The Macallan brings new oak from America thousands of miles to Spain, where the oak casks are crafted and Sherry-seasoned before traveling to the Macallan’s distillery on Speyside to mature for at least twelve years. These whiskies are then harmoniously united with those aged in the very best sherry seasoned European oak casks.”
Our tasting experience went like this. The color of the whiskey is a fairly deep amber hue. Almost golden when held to the light. The nose is subtle, with a bit of nuttiness, honey, and some caramel from the oak. Both the color and the aromas reflected the heavy sherry influence.
AGE: 12 Years Old
STYLE: Single Malt
PROOF: 43% (86 Proof)
On the palate, the whisky has a creamy, almost velvety texture. It immediately went to the back of the mouth and permeated to the sides of the tongue with some great dried fruit and citrus notes. Wine notes are soft but present from the sherry casks. The American oak flavors dominate the long but soft finish, with toasted vanilla notes lingering on the roof of the mouth. The flavors from the dual casks paired together perfectly. This whiskey is extremely balanced and the notes from the separate casks mingle together to take your taste-buds on a journey of flavors coming from each oak expression.
All in all, this is a very well balanced bottle of whisky. Harmoniously united indeed. It is a new approach from a well established producer, and it works. If you like Macallan, this will seem very familiar. For those new to the category or brand, it is a very approachable whisky. If this is a whisky that intrigues you, don’t wait too long to find a bottle. It is a limited release. Cheers!