Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #117

Macallan 10 yo
Speyside Single Malt Whisky

40% abv


Kick-off on another Speyside themed week here on the Malt Mission where today and tomorrow will tick off two classic single malt whiskies we've not yet had.

This is the flagship Macallan bottling in the UK and beyond. It is a 12 year old in North American markets. This particular Macallan, and, as far as I can tell, all Macallans in the Sherry Oak range (as opposed to the Fine Oak range) are exclusively matured in sherry casks from Jerez, Spain. Many people believe Macallan is the best single malt in the world,
among blenders it has been used as "top-dressing" for over a century, and it fights between Glenmorangie and Glen Grant for the third spot/bronze position in the worlwide top-selling malt lists, always figuring into the top 5.

Macallan famously has some of the smallest stills in Speyside, but with 21 of them, they are among the top 3 producers by volume (after Glenfiddich and Tomatin). As a result, their range of releases is absolutely enormous. Sherry casks are much more expensive to source than bourbon casks, so Macallan has had to buy their own new wood casks and have them seasoned at particular bodegas in Spain to ensure their ability to follow the Macallan's heavy sherry emphasis in maturating. The Fine Oak range released in 2004 alleviated some of this stress of supply, and offered the world a new and exciting range of Macallan expressions. Now both ranges are popular and critical successes in their own right.

And so with all these successes and indications of wise foresight in an industry that demands it (their timely expansion after going public in 1966-68, brilliant brand development, and clever cask allocation decisions since the 1980s), Macallan owners and others warn us that due to demand outstripping supply, the price of whisky will rise by 10% in the near future. That hurts. I guess once you've run out of premium releases you can still premiumise the whole industry. And if China is to affect the price whisky as it has oil, I say invade Scotland. And then Canada.

The last Macallans I tasted as a part of this mission were way back at Malt Mission #9 and Malt Mission #10.

Neil Peart, the madman of beats behind Geddy Lee's bass riffs and vocal screeches and Alex Lifeson's guitar wall of sound in Rush, is apparently big fan of Macallan.


Tight package on the nose. Chewing tobacco. Apple pie, smoke or hot oven, and less sherry dominance than I remember.

Oh, there's the sherry. But maltiness and ginger spiciness are present too as the sherry doesn't make things too soaked in dried fruitiness. Stewed rhubarb and champagne. A touch of smoke and a sort of mintiness through the finish.


A less overpowering sherry than I remember that allows subtle spice and smoke to seduce the drinker. Perhaps it could benefit from a slightly higher abv%, it does come off as a touch flat to my nose today, but with the current array of Macallan's available to the consumer, it's pointless to mess with what works.

Malt Mission #116

Malt Mission #118
Malt Mission #119
Malt Mission #120

Malt Mission HOME

No comments: