The Macallan ‘Fine Oak’ 10yo (40%, OB, Circa 2010)

To be honest, I’d rather review a Macallan from the times of the old 10yo 100 proof I reviewed earlier, but instead I’m having a 10yo from the Fine Oak series. When the Fine Oak series was released some ten years ago, it was the time the real Macallan was killed off by the owners. Macallan was then a Whisky for aficionado’s and people with taste and the Fine Oak Macallan is marketed more to be hip. Maybe the change happened because there was a shortage of Sherry casks, or maybe it was a pure marketing move. Who knows, and who cares. For those of you who don’t remember, The Macallan used to be the finest Speyside Whisky around, known for heavy use of Sherry. Something Glendronach is known for now. Glendronach didn’t sell well and even closed because of the Sherry success of Macallan. So here we have a entry-level Macallan with an age statement. So let’s have a look what the legend has become.

Macallan Fine Oak 10yoColor: Light gold, with a pink hue.

Nose: Sweet and malty, hints of creamy Sherry in the distance. Cream, vanilla, lemon and sugar with that typical sherried wine-note. Hints of oak, yet very light. If you want to, you can still smell a bit of the original distillate which still is excellent. Ear-wax again, with mocha and a nutty component. Something like almond-cream. After some time, the sugary sweetness gets some help from honey. Also a powdery note enters the mix as does some cardboard.

Taste: Malty and sometimes close to new make spirit. Sweet with lots of toffee and caramel notes. A little back-bone from the oak. I taste a lot of Bourbon cask in this 10yo, and it does get some character from Sherry casks, which in my opinion aren’t all Oloroso, since typical Fino notes are here too. Maybe a plethora of different Sherry casks went into this. The sweetness is definitely a sugary sweetness. This Macallan would make an excellent filling for bonbons. It somehow would complement the taste of chocolate for me. The finish somehow is a bit unbalanced, with wood and cardboard. It splits like a hair, and is rather short to boot. After 10 years it should have been better, it still says Macallan on the label you know…

When reviewing this, should I forget about the old Macallan? Sure, this has nothing to do with The Macallan that used to be, but on the other hand, the name is still on the label and on the back label Macallan is still considered a legend. If I were to get this blind, this could have been anything.

Points: 77

The Macallan ‘Fine Oak – Whisky Maker’s Selection’ (42.8%, OB, 1 Litre, Circa 2006)

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 😉

Points: 85