Save the date, you desperate Macallan fans: 2004. While Olimpics were returning to their roots in Athens, the distillery decided to cut its own roots. Macallan became immortal following a strict rule, its dogma: only ex sherry casks for its whiskies’ maturation. Then, in 2004, the revolutionary launch of “Fine oak” serie and of its huge core range: 10, 12, 15, 17, 18, 21, 25, 30 years old bottlings. Not a small experiment, but a real change of perspective, with the innovative blending of ex bourbon and ex sherry casks. This shocking innovation is due to economical reasons (American casks are infinetely cheaper than Spanish ones) and it’s against tradition. But we’re curious about it…
N: the first sensation is the alcohol, and it’s not a good start. After a while, some nuts’ richness appears (hazelnuts and peanuts) and catches on. The round vanilla and the stewed fruit note (prunes, sultanas, apples) are relegated in the background. The malt is noticeable but it smells unripe, you can easily imagine a mash tun nearby… Rather simple.
P: the body is light, the palate is still dominated by hazelnuts, peanuts and walnuts. Nougat and a shy hint of vanilla. It’s quite poor, indeed. It shows some sherried hints (sultanas, a red berries’ faint ghost) and a mild suggestion of orange, but everything is very pale.
F: not long but quite intense. Wallnut and hazelnut, again.
We honestly don’t want to punish too much a whisky free from substantial defects, that’s just very simple and shy. Can a Macallan be simple and shy? Good question, but the “Fine oak” era is over and we prefer to move on, without piling on: 78/100.
Recommended soundtrack: Sidney Bechet – Si tu vois ma mère