Any conversation regarding single malt whisky will inevitably lead to someone namedropping The Macallan, or simply referring to the whisky as Macallan. That’s because this Speyside label was one of the first distilleries to be legally established in Scotland during the early 1800s and has always possessed a reputation for producing some of the best single malt whisky available.
Before we delve into the delectable The Macallan Double Cask range, we’re taking a closer look at what makes The Macallan so special. And it all starts with the label’s strong foundations referred to as The Six Pillars.
The Six Pillars of The Macallan Single Malt Whisky
The Six Pillars refers to a list of guiding principles that can be felt in every whisky The Macallan produces. The Pillars are more than rules that ensure premium whisky production; they’re also an attitude and sense of place that truly makes these whiskies stand tall above the rest. The Six Pillars are:
1. Spiritual Home
The Speyside distillery that produces these exquisite expressions resides on the 485-acre Macallan Estate which also features the rustic Easter Elchies House. Built way back in the year 1700, this Highland manor represents the spiritual home of The Macallan. It acts as a constant reminder of the label’s historical origins when viewed from the modern, innovative distillery nearby.
2. Curiously Small Stills
Unlike several of its whisky-producing neighbours, The Macallan’s Curiously Small Stills are amongst the smallest on Speyside. Their unique design ensures the whisky within has maximum contact with the copper, helping to concentrate the spirit and provide those appealingly rich, fruity and full-bodied flavours. The Macallan distillery houses 24 of these stills, each capable of holding up to 3,900 litres of spirits.
3. The Finest Cut
The Finest Cut refers to the process for selecting the spirit that starts off all The Macallan whiskies. The finest cut spirit is primarily responsible for the full-bodied richness of a whisky and adhering to these principals ensures each release features the signature viscous mouthfeel and fruity aromas and flavours we know and love.
4. Exceptional Oak Casks
The Macallan says its exceptional oak casks are the single most significant contributor to the outstanding quality, natural colours and distinctive traits of its whiskies. Whether the casks are crafted from American or European oak, The Macallan prides itself on spending more time and effort sourcing, crafting, seasoning and caring for its casks than any other distillery. These unique oak casks account for up to 80% of the final aroma and flavour profile of every whisky.
5. Natural Colour
From light oak through to the darkest mahogany, all whiskies bottled by The Macallan distillery possess natural colours. Unlike artificial colouring which fades in sunlight, natural colours remain fixed and occur as a result of the maturation of the spirit within the oak casks. The Macallan says a whisky maker requires great skills to achieve consistency of the natural colour from one bottling to the next.
6. A Peerless Spirit
From place and production to people and passion, every bottle of Macallan whisky is the result of unmatched mastery and intricacy, which you can experience for yourself. Why not start with The Macallan Double Cask range?
Exploring The Macallan Double Cask Whisky Range
The Macallan Double Cask range is renowned for using both American oak and European sherry-seasoned oak casks to imbue their unique characteristics on the whisky with the spirit maturing in a hand-picked selection of both, before being bottled for consumption. The Macallan refers to the Double Cask range as offering the best of two worlds, by bringing these unique characters to the forefront, while also possessing the familiar flavours that make Macallan the go-to label for whisky connoisseurs.
The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old
The Macallan’s Double Cask 12 Years Old is a fully rounded single malt that perfectly balances the unmistakable sweetness of American oak with both sweet and zesty flavours. On the nose, creamy butterscotch leads to a hint of toffee apple, candied orange, vanilla custard and newly felled oak. On the palate, the whisky is deliciously honeyed, complemented by wood spices, citrus and balanced with raisins and caramel. Oak lingers on the finish. The natural colour of this drop is called ‘Harvest Sun’ and the 12 Years Old is bottled at 40% ABV.
The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old
The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old expression marries sherry-seasoned Amerian oak with the subtle spices of European oak, delivering a whisky with a warmer taste and character. On the nose, this aged whisky opens with aromas of dried fruit, toffee, and vanilla, smooth oak and baked apple. On the palate, flavours of sweet raisin and sultana build as hints of vanilla, wood spice and citrus lead to a warm ginger and caramel finish that lingers with its creamy mouthfeel. The colour is named ‘Golden Butterscotch’ and the 15 Years Old is bottled at 43% ABV.
The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old
As the patriarch of the Double Cask range, The Macallan 18 Years Old is perfectly matured, balancing the American and European oak for a whisky that’s subtlety-spiced and deliciously drinkable. On the nose, dried fruit and toffee give way to rich orange with hints of clove and nutmeg. Rich raisin and sultana on the palate are aided by notes of caramel, vanilla and ginger, then balanced by wood spice and zesty citrus. The warm oak spice finish turns to sweet orange and completes the experience. This one’s darker natural colour is called ‘Amber Honey’ and it’s bottled at 43% ABV.
And that’s what you need to know about The Macallan and its Double Cask range. The next step is sampling the whisky for yourself with the 12 Years Old being readily available at all good bottle shops and you can find out more about the 15 and 18 Year Old expressions via The Macallan website linked below.