Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Tasted #88: Macallan 21yo Fine Oak (#101drams)

#59 on the #101dram Charitable Challenge is The Macallan 21yo "Fine Oak", a 43% ABV vatting of The Macallan aged in three different cask types (Spanish sherry-seasoned oak, American sherry-seasoned oak and American bourbon-seasoned oak). A departure from The Macallan's typical 100% sherry-aged house style, this range no doubt came about (in 2004) due to the relative high costs of using 100% sherry casks (oh, and the need for a "lighter style Macallan" I guess..).

It's interesting to see the impact supply/demand has on various distilleries and their ranges - something that is particularly noticeable with a distillery the size of The Macallan. You only need to look at the rise of NAS whiskies (and The Macallan's own pioneering in this territory, which we covered extensively last year) to see the way the industry is being shaped.

With that said, I included this whisky on the list as I'd never been a big fan of The Macallan in the past (both sherried and Fine Oak ranges, right up to 18yo). I thought the 21yo may change my opinion (as the 1824 Series did later). So, did it?

Yes.

The Macallan "Fine Oak" 21yo (43% ABV, 21yo, Speyside, Scotland, $330AUD)
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Colour: Coppery gold.
Nose: Flint, very slight hints of smoke, passionfruit.
Palate: Smoke - surprisingly a lot of it. Citrus and lemon zest too.
Finish: Chalky, long, smokey, with hints of grapefruit.
Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 93/100. I really enjoyed this (and would have liked to have more than the 30mL sample I had, but not at $330AUD/bottle...) It didn't have the typical Macallan notes I don't normally like, and had plenty of complexity, with "smoky fruitiness" - something I don't often come across.

Cheers,
 - Martin.

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