The other Scotch-related treat I had while in Scotland was the chance to try The Macallan Fine Oak 30 Year as part of The Macallan Most Precious Tour. The Most Precious Tour, which cost us a mere £15 a person, ends with a tasting of their New Make Whisky (whisky before it’s put into the barrel), 10 Year, 15 Year Fine Oak, 18 Year, and 30 Year Fine Oak, and is overseen by the guide, who tutors you on the process. They have slides that help explain the various flavors and notes of the whisky, which gave me, the novice, a bit of guidance. When we sat down, I had no idea I was going to be able to try whisky that normally sells for £321 a bottle (in the distillery store, it retails in the US at around $900).
The Fine Oak line is a fun idea because they mature it in three different casks – Spanish oak casks seasoned with sherry, American oak casks seasoned with sherry, and American oak casks seasoned with bourbon. My novice ability probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between triple cask matured versus a blend of three separately matured whiskeys blended together but I imagine there’s a difference. You don’t go through all that trouble for it not to come out in the end product (or it could just be marketing?).
Incidentally, they say that the Precious tour takes two hours but the guide will stay with you in the tasting room as long as you want. The Precious tour normally has ten people but six people on our tour never showed up, so it was an intimate four-person tour that lasted nearly three hours!
So how was it? Smooth… so smooth that my wife, who doesn’t like whisky, said that she liked it. She liked it! She went from hating the taste of scotch to liking a Macallan 30 Year Fine Oak… she has expensive tastes. 🙂
So, here are the notes they offered on the nose that I found entertaining – “Rich, exotic, heady and aromatic, reminiscent of an orange grove.” I get everything in that statement except… exotic. What does an “exotic nose” mean?
Besides that little descriptive quandary, I definitely got a lot of orange peel, vanilla, with a spiciness on the back end. It’s light color, atypical for a 30 year, gave away its slightly muted oakiness. All of the Macallans in the Fine Oak line are far lighter than the standard bottlings, so I’d imagine the oakiness is toned down as well.