My next whisky review is about another well-known and inexpensive Scotch single malt whisky, Macallan Fine Oak 12 years old by name. According to official website, that’s a starting point in Fine Oak series which includes whiskies matured up to 25 years.
The main point of Fine Oak series is to use ex-bourbon casks side by side with traditional for Macallan sherry casks. And so spirits for 12-years aged Macallan Fine Oak whisky were matured in ex-bourbon casks and in sherry casks made of American and Spanish oak.
The Macallan Distillery is one of the largest whisky distilleries in Scotland. It’s known since 1824, and now The Edrington Group owns it through subsidiary company The Macallan Distillers Ltd. The distillery is located in the central part of Speyside, however Macallan whisky is labelled a Highland single malt whisky.
As usual, my tasting sessions are being held in the evening three times in a week. After tasting whisky neat I added a few drops of pure water to the glass – snifter or the Glencairn glass.
Name: Macallan Fine Oak 12 years old Single Malt Scotch Whisky.
Alcohol content: 40% ABV.
Appearance: transparent oily amber-coloured liquid.
Dried fruits and wood. Wood note lacks accuracy in nuances while fruits scent dominates but doesn’t excite – that’s a very calm and usual note of prunes and apples.
Behind fruit-and-wood smell, sweeter tones of chocolate soufflé and caramel combine with flavours of flowers, malt and tobacco.
After adding water, aroma slightly changed and became sweeter as light flowers note turned to strong scent of honey.
Unexpectedly thick at the start, it dramatically looses strength on the swallow and resulted in smooth mouthfeel with modest oiliness.
Dry woody start, fruit notes are much weaker. Further it develops in the same direction: fresh oak, wet tobacco, allspice, grape seeds and dark chocolate. Vanilla, burnt sugar and baked pear are deep behind.
Aftertaste is quite short, warm and dry: cacao, honey, hot milk, weak hints of pepper and cloves.
After dilution dry start became softer as dried fruits came closer to the front. Also there are some hints of fresh grass, lime tree flowers, vanilla and honey. Overall sweetness increased while dry notes of wood, spices and bitter herbs came deeper in the aftertaste.
Finish is thick, spicy and hot but it immediately turns to usual dryness and then disappears shortly.
Quite good whisky with nice scent and unfortunately plain taste. I love fine hints in the aroma but get bored with the predictable taste after emptying my bottle by a third. Actually I don’t think that it’s a boring stuff but my expectations were higher than just to get one more young Speyside malt.
I see 12-years aged Macallan Fine Oak whisky as a good choice for starters but the whisky should be drunk up before the starter meets better (or older) Speyside malt. Otherwise he just risks loosing interest in this whisky.