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The Macallan Fine Oak 10

November 2010 By James 5 Comments

As the whisky drinker demographic expands, the usual marketing tricks that we see in seemingly unrelated products will inevitably creep into the whisky business. The Macallan has long been synonymous with a distinct character of spirits finished in sherry casks. We reviewed a sherried example, the 12 year, recently. Clearly someone at the Macallan was a little sensitive about their “sherry monster” image. Expanding the product line with a tuned down product for the masses would seem like a very natural business plan (Fine Oak is matured in a mix of Bourbon and Sherry casks). After all, the gap between the cheap grocery store shelf scotches and the premium aged scotches is a bit of a grey area. The Macallan launched their Fine Oak 10 to compete with premium scotches at a price point that will keep them out of the glass case at the grocery store.

If a beverage is claiming to be lighter and easier drinking, it has no value if it is merely a diluted version of the original. It has to have a sense of balance in its own right, and still feel like a complete beverage. Macallan Fine Oak achieves this primarily by the long, dry and smooth finish that persists and remains smooth long after you’ve swallowed. The scents and flavours given off by a dram of Fine Oak will be welcoming to any whisky drinker. They are a little boring but very pleasant. Imagine a kitchen several hours after a strudel came out of the oven – a hint of grain and baking spices. This scotch feels very classy, and is a good argument for elegance in spirits in general. I can’t say I would buy it over Highland Park 12 for myself, but for a friend I just might.

Fine Oak 10 is a polarizing whisky for people who have followed the Macallan since before this big marketing gamble; check out some further reviews at Whisky Critic, Whisky Boys, and the Rum Howler.

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5 Comments »

  • Chip Dykstra said:

    I am really starting to like your writing style. In fact you write a very nice and accurate portrait of The Macallan 10 year Old Whisky. Keep up the nice work!

    (And I shall be adding The Aspiring Gentlemen to my blog roll shortly!)

  • James said:

    Thanks Chip,

    Expect to see a little rum love on the Aspiring Gentleman in the coming weeks as stores start to stock Egg Nog.

    James

  • Nathan said:

    Hi James,

    I just had a glass of The Macallan 18 this past weekend at a place in San Jose, CA, and WOW it was fantastic… dark and sweet, silky smooth, long and complex…

    I’ve never had any of the younger Macallans, and I was wondering if my experience was so good because of the age of the malt, or if I could expect similar attributes from, say, the 12 year?

    Thanks

  • James said:

    Because of the pricing structure associated with younger to older whiskies,I’ve often presumed that an older whisky should of course be superior to a younger. The reality seems to be that it is a matter of personal preference, for example I much prefer the Glenfarclas 15 to the 17. It’s tough to make generalizations other than try to taste a few at bars and restaurants and decide what you prefer.

  • Glenrothes 1995 | The Aspiring Gentleman said:

    [...] itself is owned by the Edrington Group, who produce not only the established single malts The Macallan and Highland Park, but also the well-known blends The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark, in which much [...]

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