[dropcap size=big]S[/dropcap]et on the sprawling lush landscape of Speyside, Easter Etches House is a 370-acre estate with rolling fields of barley and the symbol of one of the world’s best single malt scotches. Although the house was built in 1700, the Macallan distillery wasn’t founded until 1824 when Alexander Reid, a barley farmer and school teacher leased some land from the estate. One of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed, Macallan started as a small enterprise, but has since acquired world renown and fame. Continuously recognized for their quality products, the excitement keeps coming as they unveil their new Macallan Double Cask 12 year.
[divider]WHAT MAKES MACALLAN SPECIAL[/divider]
Macallan, the name is derived from Gaelic words Magh, meaning a fertile piece of ground and Ellan, meaning of St. Fillan, credits its excellence to the foundation of six pillars. The first of the pillars is the spiritual home of Easter Elchies House and its fertile farmland. A classic Scottish style home with corbie step gables, turrets and quarried sandstone, Easter Elchies stands stately in the heart of the estate and a1`ppears on the label of every bottle of Macallan.
The home’s harmonious relationship with the land it occupies contributes to its supreme quality, with its rich soil for growing their exclusive minstrel variety barely and pristine spring water that spills over ancient rocks and into their whisky. Set along the river Spey, Speyside whiskies have a very different flavor profile from that of Highland whiskies. Although Highland whisky is typically more robust and peaty, whiskies from Speyside tend to be rich, grassy, sweet and fruity. They are approachable to those new to scotch and considered lunchtime whiskies for looking to drink before 5:00pm.
The second pillar is Macallan’s use of curiously small stills. As the smallest stills on Speyside, their size maximizes the contact with these 14 copper crafted stills, resulting in rich, fruity, full-bodied flavors. Just as Easter Elchies House appears on the label, these unusually tiny stills have become quietly famous as well, appearing on the back of the £10 note. Pillar three is the cut. The best part of the distillate is actually the middle portion of the spirit that comes off the still. Macallan claims to have the finest cut, only taking 16% of the final distillation from the spirit stills. Along with the slow flow of the stills and small percentage of spirit that makes the cut, Macallan is able to capture a very oily, rich flavor before it is even added to the oak casks.
The fourth and fifth pillars are all about the oak casks. Everything from the color, to aroma, to flavor is owed to the oak. In fact, this is where they put most their efforts, spending more on sourcing, building, seasoning and caring for their Spanish oak sherry casks, American oak sherry casks and American oak bourbon barrels than arguably any other single malt whisky. The wood is extremely important, providing 60% of the flavor as wells as the wide range of natural colors in their Whiskies. Given that the color is completely natural, it will not fade over time as it does with some other whisky brands.
Lastly, the spirit of Macallan itself is what makes for incredible scotch. Through purpose and attention to detail, Macallan was able to thrive, despite small beginnings. These are masters in the craft of whisky making, as well as masters of the land. It is that spirit that makes Macallan whisky distinctive and exceptional, earning global recognition.
[divider]MACALLAN DOUBLE CASK 12 YEAR[/divider]
So what makes Macallan Double Cask 12 year special? Well, it is the best of both worlds by blending the flavors of different oaks. Although united with European oak, it is the first time that Macallan has used American sherry oak as the prominent flavor. Producing a flavor profile that is complex yet approachable, which makes it the perfect addition to their core range in the U.S. “By combining wood influences, we have been able to produce a new Macallan which sits perfectly between our existing Sherry Oak and Fine Oak ranges,” explains Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Master Whisky Maker.
This double cask 12 year is 100% sherry seasoned and 100% natural color. Since American oak contains less tannin, the whisky aged in these casks will be sweet, fresh and fruity. The color is that of a harvest sun, but the aroma hints of butterscotch, toffee, orange, apple and vanilla custard. Once swirled around on the palate, the flavors of honey, wood spices, citrus, raisin and caramel are released as the warm dry oak lingers.
For an ultimate night cap, you will not be disappointed to sip on Macallan’s Double Cask 12 year neat, or add some rocks for a refreshing addition. To liberate even more flavors add a splash of water and let the day’s stress melt away into the darkness.
Learn more at the Macallan Website.