I come from the times when The Macallan may have been the best Sherried Speysiders around. Almost all Macallans were made of Oloroso Sherry cask, well controlled by the distillery. Who doesn’t know the old back label with the famous last words: “FOR REASONS NOT EVEN SCIENCE CAN WHOLLY EXPLAIN, whisky has always matured best on oak casks that have contained sherry.” or the famous last two words on this very back label: “the tumbler” Well I for one was very disappointed tasting the very first Fine Oak range back in the day, having expected something like the quality of the old Macallans. For me the Fine Oaks had to be of the higher ages to get a high rating. Also the pricing has put me off back then. Some time has passed, some ten years, and here is finally another Fine Oak. Let’s give it another chance…
Color: Honey gold.
Nose: Fresh wood and fresh overall. A bit like a nice Fino Sherry. Waxy (ear wax) and slightly soapy. Apricot and bitter orange marmalade. Heather and a lot of toffee. Quite syrupy smelling and promises of a full body. Seems young with some added depth from some older casks.
Taste: A bit thin at first, but highly drinkable. Again some heather and maybe even a little bit of honey. I can’t shed the feeling this actually is a full bodied Highland Park with lots of Fino Sherry. Hidden bitterness surrounded by fruity sweetness and custard. Towards the end of the body and into the finish it gets drier with more wood and it’s bitterness. Even the toasted cask is here in minute amounts.
This reminds me of the old wide neck Highland Park 12yo, with even the same sort of bitterness in the finish. In fact, if I would have tasted this blind I most definitely would have said this was a Highland Park, who knows, same owner 😉