The Macallan has built a reputation synonymous with luxury and quality. Older expressions are some the most valued whiskies among collectors. It’s a Highland distillery that is generally known as a sherry bomb. That’s because, with the exception of their Fine Oak line, all their whisky is aged in sherry casks. Macallan claims it imports most of the sherry casks coming out of Spain. It’s clear they take their wood selection seriously.
Macallan’s Sherry Oak line ranges from the base 12-year-old expression all the way to a pricy 30-year-old single malt. Again, all the whiskies here are aged exclusively in ex-sherry casks. It’s a style of whisky I tend to enjoy.
On the nose, the sherry cask influence can’t be clearer. There’s an initial blast of dried fruit and a sweet sherry note, followed by some malted grain and a little toffee. Entry on the palate is all toffee and soft vanilla, over a bed of sherried fruit and spice. There’s a welcome touch of smoke. It’s not a peaty smoke, more a wood smoke. Just a touch. Mulled wine ends the experience in a rich, slightly dry finish.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting a classic sherried whisky, I would suggest you start with this Macallan 12-year-old or Glenfarclas 12-year-old. Macallan is generally more readily available. What we have here is a rich, fruit-sweet and slightly spicy Highland single malt. It’s priced a little higher than a standard 12-year-old Scotch at about $60. I’d love to see it slightly cheaper, but I do enjoy what’s in the bottle.