Since its introduction, The Macallan Fine Oak, a lighter expression of the traditional Macallan, has expanded the brand's audience in the U.S. and has received numerous industry accolades.
Daniel Goodwin, senior brand manager, said that the 17 Years Old would broaden the appeal of the fine oak range.
He added: “The lighter, more modern flavour expressions of the Fine Oak range resonates with whisky connoisseurs and novices alike. Fine Oak 17 expands upon a completely unique line of super-premium single malt Scotches.”
yes Sir. That is what he implies. After all the years of rolls roycing in the malt business there is now a need for substantiating the new vauxhalling malts. The ideas they have and the reasons they find! What about some truth to justify the Fine Oak line? Simple and straightforward.
If there are other reasonable reasons I'd like to hear them.
I am not out to split hairs, but...
No seriously, Glenfarclas does have a huge output of sherry cask matured malt, too. They should be affected as well. I did not hear of that yet.
As we are talking about matured whisky it seems to me there should be a kind of positive time lag. It could very well be that it is a problem to secure prime ex-sherry casks today. If that is a recent development then there should be sherried malt from say 10-12 years ago and even longer ago. So that would seem to suggest that either the problems with the sherry casks started longer ago or there is no problem, as other distilleries do not seem to be affected. And there are older sherried Macallan expressions of 25 and 30 years released.
The Glendronach 15 years was ended but was never in a swing as big as Macallan.
Jim McEwan just signed a contract with a Spanish sherry bodega to secure supplies for Bruichladdich and MMD.
And so on. I am not convinced.
I also think that the Macallan didn't take this decision lightly, it must have been very painful to watch such a large part of the business vanish, no?
I don't think they made the change just to spite us, do you? Everybody I've talked to in the industry say it was because they could not buy the style and quality of cask they needed to support the line up.
As I said in the beginning I'd love to have the answers (an am quite happy to admit I don't have the answers other than what I've read and heard) and don't believe in a conspiracy theory. I think it comes down to economics in the end.
kallaskander wrote:Hi there,
Glenfarclas does have a huge output of sherry cask matured malt, too. They should be affected as well. I did not hear of that yet.
I would hazard that the output of Glenfarclas is a very small percentage of what Macallan puts out. The sherry drought will affect them sooner or later.
I'll be at Glenfarclas in June and will ask George Grant...
It all seems very simple and straightforward to me. They simply don't have enough quality stock to supply the world with sherried Macallan. This is the result of decisions made ten, twelve, eighteen years ago, and only points up how hard it is to foresee what demand is going to be in the future. Nothing at all nefarious there. They do have a good supply of non-sherried stock, apparently, presumably originally intended for the blenders or brokers. If they want to take advantage of the growing market and increase the brand's presence in the marketplace (and they do), this is the only way they can do it. Again, nothing nefarious--just business decisions. It's a shame they have had to allocate and cut out certain markets, but it's a simple matter of supply and demand. It's unrealistic to complain on the one hand that the stuff isn't available, and on the other hand that it's too expensive. The two go hand in hand.
there appears to have been a slight drop in production of Spanish wine and therefore Sherry from a high of 4.5 million hl in 1990 to a drop of 3.68 million hl in 2000, (based on available EU statistics in INEbase)
I can only assume Macallan is engaged in a cost cutting measure with the Fine Oak series as there logically will be be fewer Sherry butts available. However, the price of any Macallan product is not remaining stable in the marketplace. So, to enjoy the Sherry finish, I will continue to pay the higher price demanded. Just not so often. Musky Pete
When a perceived premium product like Macallan already has an inflated price due to low supply and high demand, there is little real pressure to cut costs. Not that some bean-counters wouldn't do it, anyway, but I really don't think that's the issue here. I'm quite sure that Macallan would love to be selling all the sherried product everyone wants. But they don't have enough of it! That's all there is to it.
When the world starts to run out of peat (this is a silly example) and Laphroaig introduces a "lightly peated" version, it will be out of necessity, not an underhanded move to piss off fans.
Lagavulin already faced a similar situation, where there wasn't enough 16...so they released a 12.
In an industry where the product is made 10-20 years before the demand is known...moves like this are simply a reality.
But people are correct when they talk of Macallan's business decisions, at the end of the day distilleries are businesses and they will do what they have to do to survive.
Lawrence wrote: The most common way to protect a cask from contamination by bacteria is by using sulphur candles which cause all sorts of problems for the follow users.
This reminds me, that in the bible JM more than once refers to a wood policy adapted some years ago, that is now resulting in sulphured bottlings.
I have been wondering what he refers to... could this be it ?
I don't think people are drinking less sherry in the UK - my experience (drinking with friends, especially female friends) is the opposite, and this story seems to back it up:
I don't know how that affects availabilty of sherry casks in the UK.
However, to be honest, I don't really care much for Macallan any more. Since the transfer of ownership, Macallan has changed dramatically in the way it deals with its customers. I don't like what they do, and I don't trust a word that the Mac pr and marketing people people say. Credibility went out the window when they began defending the indefensible - denying the truth of the story re the "Fake Mac" (which they were selling on their website!) for months after the world knew the truth.
The Mac "vintages" and special bottlings are overpriced, and the brand is trading on a reputation built up long ago when it was a truly distinctive dram, owned by an independent company of recognised integrity.
Many folks say that the demand for Mac was such that most of it came from "treated" casks anyway, in which case the non-availability of large numbers of casks that had previously been entirely filled with sherry would not have been a problem.
And I'm certainly not implying that Mac was alone in treating casks with paxarette (allegedly) - it's an "old hat" issue here on the forum, and I think most folks agreed that the important issue was how the resulting whisky tasted.
I note that MJ, page 71 of the 5th edition, states " Much as it is desired by Macallan, Spanish oak is less well supported in its own country. Spanish wine makers, including those of Jerez, increasingly prefer the sweeter more vanilla like character of American Oak"
I love the sherried Macallan, and I don't think they deliberately went about making it obsolete. I think a combination of market demand, changing trends in both the Single Malt and Sherry production, cost control and opportunity where all part of the decision.
sorry to drag up an old thread from the depth of oblivion. I just stumbled over a quote concerning The Macallan that greatly amused me.
" When using Spanish oak, the studies indicate that about 10% of the quality of The Macallan whisky is based on the sherry wine-derived compounds," notes David. "In fact, we have some casks of Macallan whisky from the late 1970s aged in different sherries—fino, amontillado, and oloroso—and we’re seeing little difference between them. The wine’s impact would be more significant if American oak casks were used."
While the initial studies have shown the quality of The Macallan whisky is largely "wood driven" and that the impact of sherry wine extractives are lesser so, there are still many other variables which David hopes to isolate and quantify. These variables include the impact of oxidation on The Macallan and the overall contributions of the new make spirit to the quality of the whisky.
One thing is for sure. The impact that sherry bodegas have on the whisky industry is enormous and will continue to be so. To quote David Robertson, "without the sherry casks and Spanish oak, it just wouldn’t be The Macallan."
Especially the last paragraph says it all for me. One should be very careful what you say and when. Especially when someone writes it down.
True, it is not the Macallan that we know and love. But, taken as single malt on it's own and just drinking it for what it is, forgetting the comparison's to the sherry cask Macallans, cause it don't compare, the 15 year is not bad and the "experts" rate the 17 year old high, high, high. It would be like taking an unpeated malt out of Ardbeg and comparing it to the ten year old.
There are a number of single malt distilleries that engage in a number of different wood finishes in the marketing of their products and to retain or gain market share and they don't seem to get beat up. Macallan is no different, which do I prefer, the sherry cask finish, but I might find a fine oak that I like as well some day, and I am certainly going to look.
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