As to the unsherried Macallan they produce quite a bit of for the exclusive use of blenders. The SMWS has been offering bourbon casked Macallans for the last 10 years at least.
However The Macallan has just launched a new range of whiskies matured in bourbon barrels called "Fine Oak" in 12, 18 and 25 year olds. (However I've seen a picture on the Malt Maniacs site showing a 10, 15 and 21 but the MM rate the 12, 18 and 25)
We shall see what the market thinks of this new avenue the Macallan has chosen to take after having spent the last 20 years running down any whisky that has not been matured in ex sherry barrels.
I stand corrected, there is some sherry in the "Fine Oak" series, here's the article:
The Macallan(R) Reveals the Lighter Side of Scotch Whisky With the Introduction of the Macallan Fine Oak.
An Unprecedented Combination of Sherry & Bourbon Oak Casks Produces an Entirely New Expression of Single Malt Scotch Whisky from the Distillery.
NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 08/11/2004 -- The Macallan Single Malt Scotch Whisky, considered the world's most precious whisky, is taking another step forward in its pursuit of single malt perfection. Breaking with 180 years of tradition, The Macallan adds American bourbon casks into the equation to produce The Macallan Fine Oak range of smooth, delicate single malts.
The secret of The Macallan Fine Oak (10, 15 and 21 Years Old), which debuts in the U.S. this September, lies in its maturation in carefully selected European and American oak casks, which have previously held sherry or bourbon. The result of this unique cask combination is a lighter style of single malt from The Macallan.
Mark A. Izatt, single malt brand manager, Remy Amerique, Inc., exclusive U.S. importer of The Macallan, believes that the Fine Oak range will attract consumers who desire lighter, more accessible single malts. "The Macallan Fine Oak is an exciting addition to The Macallan brand's portfolio," said Izatt. "Stylish and modern, these single malts will appeal to novice Scotch drinkers and connoisseurs alike."
The Macallan introduces The Macallan Fine Oak,
a range of lighter single malt Scotch whiskies,
aged in a combination of American and European
bourbon and sherry oak casks.The most significant product launch in its 180-year history, The Macallan Fine Oak has already received rave reviews from world-renowned whisky experts, including Michael Jackson who said, "Some malt lovers argue that the traditional Macallan is dominated by sherry, but I disagree. In my view, The Macallan is a big malt, with character and complexity to shine through any amount of sherry. Those attributes are clear for all to see when American oak is substituted. The typical Macallan characteristics are evident throughout the Fine Oak range."
All The Macallan Fine Oak has been distilled at The Macallan Distillery in Craigellachie, Speyside, watched over by The Macallan's award-winning whisky maker, Bob Dalgarno, and his team. All Macallan new-make spirit that goes into the combination of casks is made with exactly the same craftsmanship that is the hallmark of the brand, using Golden Promise barley, distilled in exceptionally small stills and taking only the finest cut.
The Macallan Fine Oak will be available in a selection of ages:
-- 10 Years Old: The color of pale straw and featuring a complex aroma of
fruit and heather honey, a balanced flavor of oak and fruit, and a
lingering finish with hints of oak and fruit (40 % Alc./Vol.). Suggested
retail price: $44
-- 15 Years Old: A rich straw color and featuring a full aroma with hints
of rose and cinnamon, a palate of intense rich chocolate with hints of
orange and raisins, and a lingering finish of chocolate and hints of orange
and dried fruit (43% Alc./Vol.). Suggested retail price: $65
-- 21 Years Old: Light amber in color and featuring an intense rich aroma
with hints of vanilla and passion fruit, a soft, rich and spicy flavor with
hints of oranges and peat, and a lingering finish with hints of wood smoke
(43% Alc./Vol.). Suggested retail price: $220
This new range of single malts will be available alongside The Macallan Sherry Oak range, and will feature contemporary, stylish packaging in colors that reflect the light, delicate style of Fine Oak, which is a perfect counterpoint to the rich, dark and complex Sherry Oak range.
Individual bottles from The Macallan Fine Oak, in standard 750 ml size can be purchased from fine wine and spirits shops across the U.S.
About The Macallan®
The three of them were quite drinkable, pleasant whiskies, but they weren't spectacular. Like I said above, I don't think it's their best work.
I suspect that if maturing in bourbon wood led to a better quality Macallan, they would have been using it exclusively years ago.
It would be interesting to find out if the unpeated Caol Ila tasted like a Bunnahabhain. If the stills are different sizes and shapes between the two distilleries, then perhaps the resulting malts might be quite different also?
Unpeated Caol Ila I have heard about but never seen a single bottle that displays anything that suggests what's inside is less or non-peated.
I did pick up a rum finished Caol Ila which is sort of asleep to me -lest that is the best I could describe it on a Caol Ila scale. I don't suppose it's bad, it just doesn't have the get up and go I am accustomed to in this marquee.
I haven't tried the mature Caol Ila Highland style, only the new make. The nose was very different and not comparable to a Bunnhabhain, as well as the taste. It has its own style and If I am not wrong, the cut for the Highland style (unpeated) is different from the Islay stlye.
Caol Ila Highland 8yo Unpeated Cask Strenght OB 59.9%
Occasion: Visit at Caol Ila
Nose: Fresh and fruity. Malt, butter and fudge
Palate: Medium body. Vanilla fudge, malty. Fruitcake. Oily with water.
Finish: Long finish. Dries your mouth. More malt and ripe fruits.
I also had the opportunity to taste the highland version as new make... It was one of the best newmakes I've ever tasted.
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