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Macallan Select Oak

Average score from 8 reviews and 26 ratings 81

Macallan Select Oak

Product details

  • Brand: Macallan
  • Bottler: Distillery Bottling
  • Series: The 1824 Collection
  • ABV: 42.8%

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Macallan Select Oak

Here’s the Select Oak. It’s a 1L no age statement travel retail offering. It’s made using American oak bourbon casks, first fill American oak casks, and European oak casks that have been treated with sherry. It seems a lot of these no aged whiskies get some pretty elaborate wood treatments. I suppose it’s something to talk about in lieu of an age. Or maybe I’m being too harsh too soon. I like bourbon and sherry and America and Europe and oak. Could be worth a go.

Nose: Classic Macallan, maybe a bit simple. Gentle Baking spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, vanilla, apple, sultanas, sherry, apricot.

Palate: Light mouthfeel. Gentle spices, red apple, sultanas, brown sugar, caramel, and gentle peppercorn.

Finish: Continuation of the palate. Baking spices, gentle cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, coffee, caramel popcorn, and oak.

Thoughts: This is quite nice, if a little uninspired. Standard, pleasant, easy stuff. I don’t think all that cask jumping was necessary, though. All its fancy (over)production might have detracted rather than added to the final character. But that’s not to say that it’s without charm. This is well-balanced stuff, and Macallan’s sherry and baking spices are always pleasant. And the caramel popcorn note on the finish is fun. This is classic Macallan without any bells and whistles. But I've been known to enjoy bells, and even the occasional whistle, so this one’s hard to get excited about. As it goes with so many Macallans, more punch would make it interesting. Turn 40% into 46% and I could call this a good whisky. As it stands this is decent, but there are plenty of better and more characterful whiskies for the price, I think.


The Macallan Select Oak is offered in the Duty Free range and thus comes in a 1 litre bottle – it costs around 60 EUR. The Select Oak is a marriage of whisky matured on three types of casks: American oak, bourbon casks and first fill European oak, all of them infused with sherry. According to the PR blurb the casks were handpicked by Macallan’s Master of Wood George Espie.

The nose is sweet and clean on vanilla and ginger, followed by new leather and mashmallows. A tiny bit of coconut. Dried fruits, I would say. Something of nougat with some raisins. Far from bad, but not a high flyer either.

The arrival is rather weak, almost watery. The oak is a bit louder with all kinds of spices (ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon), while the fruit evolves towards the candied version as in a Christmas cake. Some almonds and orange peel. Cherries, maybe? Hint of cold coffee.

The finish is not terribly long on nuts and toasted oak. It remains fairly sweet, but becomes mildly drying at the death.

To say this is a great Macallan? No. It is far from bad, but rather ordinary. Easily quaffable, though.


I have had the pleasure of meeting Bob Dalgarno, the man responsible for crafting these Macallan whiskies and I have to tell you he knows his stuff.

The painstaking procedure he goes to ensure consistency of color, flavor and taste is mind boggling. Macallan whiskies have no added color which makes it even more impressive. But what I like most about Bob is that he's an honest guy and calls a spade a spade.

Which makes me want to believe even he realizes that this is not one of his finest creations.

The spirit has been matured in three different casks - Spanish Sherry, American Oak that held sherry and ex-Bourbon. That is a lot of work for an entry level single malt but, unfortunately, it doesn't translate into greatness.

Nose: Very vanilla sweet. Sherry raisins on oaky cinnamon and clove peppers. Lots of warm toffee and raisin butterscotch. Hints of chocolate and black salted apples. It's not a bad nose mind you.

Palate: Tragically weak. Simply fails to excite. The chocolate and dark honey are shadows as are the cinnamon and pepper spices.

Finish: What finish?

Now let me tell you something. I am notoriously against food pairings because it doesn't let me enjoy my whisky properly but with this one I am willing to make an exception. If you want this whisky to taste brilliant pair it with a tiramisu cake. It will knock your socks off.

To get your socks back on go back to drinking it neat.

Interesting review. I'm yet to open my bottle. The three cask combination made me anticipate an exceptional whisky. Hope it doesn't fizzle in my Glencairn.

What's with all the new NAS expressions hitting the market with no finish?

Just tried this with my brother in law. It is a very drinkable dram. On the nose I get a hint of sulphur, the palate is weak and sweet. A hint of smoke.

This was bought quite a while ago. Neither of us would buy it now....


Color: gold.

Nose: a bowl full of raisins with some prunes mixed in for good measure. Light undercurrents of red apples and vanilla. Just a hint of orange peel zest. Water brings forth moist banana nut bread. Very sweet and fruity.

Body: medium but creamy.

Palate: yes, fresh-baked banana bread with walnuts and raisins right up front with some creamy butterscotch candies mixed in. Very smooth and makes me hungry!

Finish: a lingering finish of bananas foster with a hint of pepper. Not super warming, but it stays with you a while.

I picked up a liter of this in the Moscow airport, and when I got home to try it, I was a little disappointed at first. This one, however, is a real grower. I enjoy it more and more every time I partake. The nose in particular is completely unique of all the whiskies I've tried. So full of raisins. Even when I decide to pour from another bottle, I often reach for this one first just to breath it in. If Macallan is indeed moving away from age statements, this is the way to do it.

Thanks for the review. I second it. The only place I would disagree is the color. My bottle shows a dark amber color. It is a very different Scotch. For lack of a better term, I would call it a "dessert Scotch". I was able to taste this in St. Maarten in 2012. I came home with a liter bottle. Would have bought more but the bottle was the last I was able to fit into my luggage. Going back to St. Maarten soon to see if I can bring more back with me. It's not available in the US as far as I can tell. Locally, none of the private, county, and state liquor stores know of it.


After a tough day at work this hits the mark as a great nightcap!

Nose: Homemade peanut brittle, violet crumble, flirting vanilla hiding in the background Palate: Enveloping molten browned toffee, a touch of sweet naval orange and a hint of golden rum Finish: Medium and drying, streaks of sherry, leaves me wanting more.


I had the good fortune of having a friend pick this one up for me on his way back to Toronto from Las Vegas. Initially I asked him to pick me up a bottle of Ardbeg 10 just because it was far less expensive compared to LCBO prices. However at the last minute I changed my mind and asked him to grab this one instead as it's not something I can readily get.

Nose: Caramel and lots of it. There was a hint of sweet apple pie in there as well, with a bit of pear, but the caramel was the star.

Palate: Smooth.....so very smooth and dangerously drinkable. I poured a dram for myself and my friend and we were shocked to see how quickly we finished it. It's certainly a sweet scotch but there is a slight spice to it as well.

Finish: Not very long. The spice lingers on the tongue a bit, but that's about it.

Conclusion: Not a terribly complex scotch, but a very easy drinking one. Makes for a great summer dram to have on a nice hot summers day. While it's not on the top of my duty free wish list, it's certainly one I wouldn't mind getting again.


Not my favorite Macallan (a little too sweet), but drinkable nonetheless. Smells like caramel, tastes like stale black licorice.

"Smells like caramel, tastes like stale black licorice." Fabulous.


The Macallan Select Oak

I bought this one at World of Whiskies in London Heathrow a couple of months ago while traveling back from working in Africa. What caught my eye was the tall green box, and the fact that it was a select expression only for retail travel.

I opened the bottle the other night and have been enjoying a few drams ever since. The first note I noticed on the nose was caramel... lots of caramel, with subtle hints of baked apple.

This is a medium bodied whisky and the caramel really comes through on the first sip. Also... sweet, tones of honey. I could really taste the sherry influences as well. Smooth, but spicy! the spiciness lingers on the tongue and warms all the way down.

A thoroughly enjoyable Macallan!

Bruce, who are you kidding when you say you don't have the skills to write a review? This is wonderful and exactly the sort of review I would be looking for. Not just the technical terms that connoisseurs appreciate, but also no-nonsense explaining of what you thought you tasted and - most important of all - a little personal history/story, that makes it all the more interesting to read.

Looking forward to reading more of your reviews, mate.

Thanks fellas!

@markjedi1 I appreciate the encouragement, thanks!

@jdcook, if you're not traveling soon, maybe someone who is could pick one up for you. As for paying for it, well I know what you mean... my whisky budget is almost used up!

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