Scotland’s renowned Macallan Distillery has turned out another pricey but mouth-watering single malt in its Double Cask Range. Macallan Double Cask 30 is the oldest Double Cask release to date and, at $4,000, it’s (ironically) one of the most affordable 30-year Macallans available in 2021.
The Speyside distillery is beloved for its old bottles, and it’s the opinion of many a whisky consumer that its older releases (from about 18 years ago) are some of the best whisky on the market today. But with this new release, they’re widening the potential scope of that domination.
The Macallan Double Cask range is a tasty group. When we reviewed them a couple years ago, they were diverse and well-blended whiskies. Each of the 12-, 15-, and 18-year bottles had its own merits (though the 15 really wowed). Technically, the line was first released in 2016, but several bottles were added, and production didn’t really start to meet demand until this decade.
Demand for Macallan has shifted the distillery’s focus in recent years, but not at the expense of quality. Even the brand’s recently completed limited collection “Macallan Edition Series” was a tasty array of relatively affordable bottles, each around $100.
Double cask is so named for the cask types used in the aging of the whisky. Macallan is known for its deep sherry character—and while the traditional sherry casked scotch is usually aged in European oak barrels that once held sherry, Macallan began incorporating American oak barrels into the process several years ago to give an extra edge (and a significantly larger supply).
European oak tends to lend more spice, nutty flavors, while American oak is often associated with coconut and higher levels of sweetness. Every tree is a little different, but these common themes can help you distinguish the two.
What to expect from Macallan Double Cask 30
The older whiskey gets, the more the character of the wood in the barrel takes charge of what you smell and taste, so with Macallan Double Cask 30, the wood has had an incredible amount of time to work its magic. According to Macallan, it did just that for this new release.
Macallan shares aroma notes for this whiskey including honeycomb, toffee, fig, vanilla pod, and touches of red apple. On the palate, it’s full of cinnamon, ginger, dried fruits, oak (of course), and Madagascan vanilla. The finish would appear gentle, as the distillery noted sweet oak, soft spice, and toffee.
At a soft-spoken 43 percent ABV, this isn’t a punchy whisky, nor should it be. Older bottles like this are meant to be consumed gently and slowly. And you’ll want to do that regardless, given the whisky’s $4,000 price tag.
There’s no word on the number of bottles coming out with this year’s release, but we’re guessing the supply is fairly low, as elder Macallan releases always tend to account for just a few thousand bottles at most.
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