Distillery: The Macallan
Expression: 10 year old Fine Oak
This 10 year old Macallan, like the others from the ‘Fine Oak’ range was triple matured, using three kinds of oak; European casks seasoned with sherry, American casks seasoned with sherry and American casks seasoned with bourbon. This, no doubt, will deliver quite a complex whisky, but the young age should in a way counteract that complexity. Or at least, this is what I am expecting before I taste. Macallan focuses a great deal on the oak that they use. When you visit the distillery you can opt to get a tour that includes a very elaborate in depth look into the science behind oak and the variety in it. Very worthwhile if you’ve always been interested in learning more about wood finishing and the importance of the oak quality that is used by whisky makers. Now, on to the tasting:
Nose: Not in the least bit surprising; strong oak. Strong, but not sharp. This is not that peppery, shoot up your nose type of oak aroma that you get in some whiskies, this is a sweeter type of oak scent. Like wet wood chips, almost ceder wood-like. Very crisp and clean. Cereal notes now, puff pastry and biscuits. Light fruits, lemon and green apples, and a good whiff of floral aromas.
Taste: Big malt at first, followed by obvious oak. But again, the oak is not very intrusive, rather light and mellow, almost sweet. A bitter note now, tree sap and maybe even the slightest liquorice hint. The fruit remains very subtle, almost non-existent. At the end I get a modest bit of honey.
Finish: Medium at most. The malt really is big, but clean and crisp like in the nose. Oak remains mellow and on the sweet side, but it is definitely there. The bitterness seems to have vanished, leaving that malty, floral, slightly fruity, sweet oaky mix of flavours.
Overall: Often with younger whiskies there’s a bit of clumsiness going on. Lack of finesse, if you will. They can seem a bit off balance; Strong in one part, weak in the next. One flavour jumping out, others non existent. However, this 10 year old is very well balanced for its age. Nothing seems under developed or coming on too strong. Nothing really sticks out. And it is because of this, that it is also not deeply impressive. I like this whisky, but I would have liked it to have a bit more ‘oomph’. Everything is just a little too mellow and light for my taste. Nonetheless, a very well made, quality malt, well worth a taste.
Rating: 3 stars