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Macallan 18 Year Old Fine Oak

Average score from 2 reviews and 16 ratings 87

Macallan 18 Year Old Fine Oak

Product details

  • Brand: Macallan
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • ABV: 43.0%
  • Age: 18 year old

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Macallan 18 Year Old Fine Oak

I've had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Macallans' reclusive Mr Bob Dalgarno and came away immensely impressed with his humility and his considerable skill as a whisky maker.

The Fine Oak series is his baby and I recall him telling me that after the Sherry Oak all eyes were on him to come up with a new type of expression. His idea was something that would drastically change the way Macallan matured it's spirit. Traditionally using only sherry casks the Fine Oak range uses ex-Bourbon, ex-European Sherry and ex-American Sherry casks.

The experiment paid off and catapulted both Bob and Macallan into whisky royalty. Now only third behind Glenfiddich in global single malt sales Macallan deservedly enjoys its place as the malt to be seen with.

Using only 16% of the spirit cut for maturation I guess one could begin to understand the price tag this whisky demands. Unlike other 'premium' status symbol whiskies (like Blue Label) which the connoisseur will avoid Macallan manages to walk the fine line between consistent quality and packaged prestige.

Before I share my notes let me tell you this 18 year old is quite possibly the smoothest delivery you will ever experience in your life.

Nose: Dark jam. Marmalade. Cinnamon. Dry fruits. Almonds. Malt. Crisp grass. Melted butter. Vanilla. Honeycomb. And the richest of sherries. Quite a lovely nose.

Palate: As I let the spirit cascade into my mouth my eyes actually widened at the unexpectedly smooth texture. On the sweeter side the flavors are perfectly balanced. Light honey. Marmalade. Very mild peppers. Oranges. Vanilla. Figs. Prunes. And that luxurious sherry yet again. Brilliant.

Finish: Medium. Touch of oaky fruitcake.

Bob is a gifted individual and a passionate one at that. And this 18 year old is testament to that.

@rigmorole yup definitely the 18 - could be a European market thing. If I know correctly (and this is according to the brand ambassador) the 17 and 18 are exactly the same juice. Later releases of the 17 do not have any 17 yr old in them - only 18 and higher. Maybe a drop to conform to legalities.

But 17 seems to have quite a following and retailers resisted the 18 for some reason. I think there's also a substantial difference in price point. So rather than lose share they simply bottled the 18 and packaged it as the 17 so as not to cause any disruptions.

At least I'm pretty sure this is how it happened.

Do you mean Macallan 17 Fine Oak or Macallan 18? I've never heard of Macallan 18 Fine Oak unless it's a European thing we Americans aren't aware of. Nice review. Always great to hear your thoughts.


This past Christmas I received the Macallan 12, 15, and 18, all in the Fine Oak range, from a very generous friend. The notes of each were taken in direct comparison of one another in one sitting.

Nose: Similar notes as 15 year old (caramel and maple syrup) but with an added herbal characteristic. Also, the caramel and maple syrup seem to be accompanied by cookies (brown sugar and butter).

Palate: More refined than the younger counterparts - easy drinking. Expectedly, the oak is much more prominent. Touch of sweetness holding up its light floral nature.

Finish: Decent finish with rich oak and herbal notes returning. Still a bit short.

Competent and enjoyable. Easy going and easy drinking, however, the bit of complexity it has holds your attention. The major, MAJOR downfall of this whisky is the ridiculous price. $130-160 is far too much money for what's in the bottle. I understand that older means more money, however, the quality of this is that of $50-60, honestly. Maybe I'm being too harsh, but it's the way I feel about this whole range.

Overall, the Fine Oak range that I've tasted has not shown itself to be something I would consider seeking out. Luckily this was a gift. Of course I am extremely grateful for the gift as I believe whisky, good or bad, is an education, which could be considered priceless. The main theme amongst the 12, 15, and 18 year old is that of nondescript flavor. None of the whiskies really made an impression on me and I've found it difficult to recall specific flavors.

Wow, I feel like I just did some serious Macallan bashing. Sorry if that was annoying.

Macallan 18 year old Fine Oak 85/100

I don't think it is really a bash, I've just had a glass of the 18 and what you descirbed as nondescript flavor is exactly the way to put it. It is not a bad flavor though. And though the flavor did'nt impress me, the mouthfeel of the 18 did. It felt rich, though lacking in specific flavor.

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