Sunday, March 8, 2009

Have just tried ... Macallan 10 years old

macallan 10 years oldFollowing the recent 'Have just tried ...' entry for the Macallan 10 years old from the 'Fine Oak' series, it seems only fair to try the traditional 10 years old from this famous distillery. Macallan is one of the biggest selling whiskies in the world, being consistently in third place for sales, behind only Glenfiddich and Glenlivet. Their range of whisky is extensive and includes limited editions and an exclusive range for the travel retail sector. Despite the diversity of the current range, this 10 years old forms the foundation on which Macallan's success is built. From the time that it was originally launched in the early 1970s as one of the first mass marketed single malts, this whisky has been regarded as one of the most classic examples of sherry cask maturation. Macallan take the quality of their casks very seriously and they have owned a bodegas in Jerez in southern Spain since the late 1970s. They instruct the sherry producers to care for the wood, what type of sherry to put in each cask and the length of maturation time required. It is this rigorous attention to detail that has helped establish the quality and brand of Macallan. The rumour says that Macallan have £15 million tied up in sherry casks alone!

The colour is a distinctive chestnutty red brown and the nose is lovely and full of interest. There is clear evidence of the sherry casks here with lots of the dried fruits (think of sultanas and raisins), candied peel (especially orange) and warm spices (imagine nutmeg and cinnamon). These are joined by a nutty note (think of almonds) and a sugary sweetness. All of these are classic sherry cask characters. On the palate, the elements from the nose mingle and it feels like liquid gold. this whisky has a slightly viscous feeling in your mouth but is very clean and refreshing. The sugary sweetness becomes more caramel-like than on the nose and there is just loads of the dried fruit, peel and spices (especially ginger coming through). The finish is a bit drier and quite long, fruity and woody. This is a very good whisky and a great example of how good sherry cask maturation can compliment a whisky if carried out sympathetically. It is also a bargain at around £30 a bottle and is readily available. A real 'try before you die' whisky.

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