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Macallan 15 Year Old Fine Oak

Oh hello, that’s bitter orange marmalade…

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@murrayaitkenReview by @murrayaitken

27th Oct 2017


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Macallan Fine Oak 15 Years

Colour: straw yellow.

Nose: Wild flowers, quite noble, lots of oak spices.

Palate: starts smooth and sweet like thinned maple syrup but that turns woody, green and piney but all these are not overdone.

Finish: Unlike the start on palate, the finish is dry and more bitter, orange with a little spice, maybe clove? Oh hello, that’s bitter orange marmalade. Most reviews I’ve read define chocolate all over, but I don’t get much, or is it that bitter chocolate that is described? I get the bitterness.

With a few drops of water I found some pepper in the finish, which helps to bring out the differences between sweet and spicy and lower the strength a little.

I do like this whisky, it’s primo and I enjoyed it, so don’t get me wrong (starting a new topic here) but I think I prefer purely ex-sherry/port cask whisky rather than a mix of bourbon and sherry, or pure bourbon casks. On researching some more, it’s interesting to know that this whisky is triple matured in a trio of Spanish oak ex-sherry wine casks, American oak ex-Sherry casks, and American oak ex-bourbon casks, all matured separately for 15 years, then married. So, even having two sherry casks and only one bourbon in the dram, why is it that I’m missing the “winey” flavours then? I need to research more on the different outcomes from using sherry casks vs. bourbon casks vs. both.

I may be identifying some clear and present direction here for my true whisky character. It could never be that I’ve had one too many…

Related Macallan reviews


BlueNote commented

@murrayaitken I agree. Give me traditional Sherry oaked Macallan any day. I had the fine oak 15 about 5 years ago and haven't bothered since. I think the whole Fine Oak range was sub-par and overpriced. But you gave it a decent mark, so I might try it again if I come across it at a decent price (which is highly unlikely).

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

Nice review. When it comes to sherry - matured Scotch Macallan is an excellent specimen. The CS is fantastic, and while I haven't had enough time to really get to know them, the 12 and 18 (the old ones) were really something, even at 43%.

In terms of your comment about what you like, I felt that I preferred sherry matured CS whiskies. Over time I've broadened my scope. One of my favourite Amruts was a single bourbon cask offering. So I wonder if maybe it's the low ABV and some poor cask selection that is somehow at play.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

murrayaitken commented

@BlueNote yes, as I said I did like it as a whisky hence the better score, just not a favourite... it's no wonder the bottle is 7/10 full, as opposed to the Macallan Select Oak from the travel retail range 1824 Collection which is only 2/10 full. I haven't officially reviewed that one and can't recall exactly, but from the reviews I read there's stronger presence of mulled wine, sherry and fruits. Oh, and a quick morning sniff into the bottle, all those notes are there.. perhaps tonight I'll empty it and go find some more aged Macallan's.

5 years ago 0

murrayaitken commented

@Nozinan thanks. I'm heading out to find some aged Macallan this weekend. The oldest I own is this 15, had an 18 before but that's long gone and the rest of the vertical ages I have tried, just never concentrated on a review. If you're ever across in Hong Kong, pop over by ferry to Macau, the Macallan Whisky Bar at the Galaxy Hotel & Casino is fantastic, they claim to have over 400 top-grade whiskies on the menu, including some of the rarest ones from Macallan.

Amrut as in the Indian whisky? I've never tried them but often seen them around, hmm may go on the wish list too. Do you recall which one it was? I'm going to try as many of the aged Macallan's over the next few weeks, as I have had some gorgeous Macallan's before, need to recall which ones they were.

5 years ago 0

Nozinan commented

@murrayaitken I missed your Macau recommendation by 14 months. Oh well, I tasted some amazing grape spirit in Xinjiang last summer.

As for Amrut, I'm h inking about a single cask that was exclusive to LCBO but they do seem to have a lot of them around the world. I would recommend a cask strength 2007 edition if you can find one but the others are nice too, or a bourbon single cask if you can get one. If you like Sherry a single cask or Intermediate Sherry are good bets. If you like Port, Portonova.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

Taco commented

I had a few bottles of 15 FO a few years ago, before Macallan prices went nuts. I think it was around $55 at the time, so a decent price for a good scotch. I'll never buy it again at the current $115 price. I can get Arran 14 for $65 and Compass Box Oak Cross for $42, so why pay the Macallan prices. Also, they dropped the CS, easily their best value scotch, so they can bite me!

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

Robert99 commented

@murrayaitken I had a taste of the 15 at my liquor store last week and find it too oaky for me. The first sips was quite good with a ton load of honey, cereals and very light spices, but the oak was building up rapidly masking everything else.

5 years ago 0

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