WRITTEN BY GERALD GLAVOTA
The question of adding water to your whisky kicks up a storm of opinions. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference. While some enjoy the spirit over ice, or ‘opened’ with a drop of water, others accept nothing but a dram served neat. Regardless of which school of thought you deem correct, experts often say that the only wrong way to enjoy whisky, is to simply not enjoy it at all.
The Macallan is one of the most iconic Scotch whisky brands in the industry, known for its innovation, revered quality and collectability. Achieving perfection has been the brand’s hallmark since it was founded in 1824. Many believe the brand’s reputation is grounded in its meticulously chosen oak casks, a process for which The Macallan is renowned.
For every expression of The Macallan, the characteristic of the whisky is largely dependent on the type of oak casks in which they are matured. With up to 80% of The Macallan’s final character, colour and flavour determined by cask quality, the barrels are the most prominent factor in ensuring and delivering the distinctive styles and ranges that are The Macallan.
The inspirations behind The Macallan’s newest additions to its portfolio are both water and the oak cask: The Macallan Edition No. 6, The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old and The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old.
The Macallan Edition No. 6 is inspired by the natural wonders of The Macallan estate, and the vibrant lifeforce that sustains it – The River Spey. Crafted from a combination of American and European sherry-seasoned oak casks, Edition No. 6 is a multifaceted whisky. It delivers aromas of fresh fruits, nutmeg and toffee, merged with oak and flavours of ripe plum, vibrant sweet oranges and cinnamon. The finish develops into spicy fresh fruits, creamy chocolate and toasted oats. Bottled at an ABV of 48.6%, The Macallan Edition No. 6 is the perfect conclusion to the brand’s iconic Edition Series.
First introduced in 2016, The Macallan’s Double Cask portfolio embodies the story of two worlds joining as one. The ‘double’ in Double Cask refers to the two different oaks that are used in the maturation of the spirit. The European oak is sourced from the green forests of northern Spain and the French Pyrenees, while its new oak hails from Ohio, Missouri and Kentucky. Both variations of wood are transported to Jerez, Spain, where the oak is handcrafted into casks that are then filled with sherry. The sherry seasoning of American oak imparts delicate flavours of vanilla, while the European oak delivers subtle spice. The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, a hallmark expression of the Scotch whisky house, is the result of a harmonious union of these two oaks, and has become a favourite of Canadian Scotch aficionados.
The Double Cask series is now set to expand, with the upcoming releases of The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old and The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old.
The Macallan Double Cask 15 Years Old is a perfectly balanced spirit bottled at an ABV of 43%, with an aroma of dried fruits, toffee, baked apple and chocolate. On the palate, sweet raisin and sultana builds with hints of vanilla, wood spice and citrus, with a finish of warm ginger and a creamy mouth feel. This is one exceptional Scotch.
The Macallan Double Cask 18 Years Old delivers an aroma of dried fruits, ginger and toffee, with rich orange and hints of clove. On the palate, raisin and sultana come through, with notes of caramel, vanilla and ginger. The whisky boasts a warm, spicy finish, with notes of ginger and sweet orange. Bottled at an ABV of 43%, with a sweeter, warmer taste and character, this single malt will impress the most discerning of whisky enthusiasts.
These new expressions have significantly enhanced the existing Double Cask range, which lies at the heart of The Macallan’s portfolio. The new Double Cask expressions demonstrate The Macallan’s enduring desire to go beyond the ordinary, seek out the extraordinary, and create peerless single malts.
THE SINGLE MALT FROM ORKNEY
Photo Credits: Brilynn Ferguson
In the waters of northern Scotland, there are the Orkney Islands, home of the Highland Park distillery. This is a place where the winds are so fierce that there are essentially no trees. The barren, yet beautiful, landscape creates a woodless peat rich in fragrant heather, a unique ingredient that lives at the heart of the Highland Park identity.
In keeping with the distillery’s commitment to tradition, the peat is hand cut, the barley malt is hand turned, the oak casks are sherry seasoned, the weather is cool and whisky harmonization is a necessity. These are the five keystones that define Highland Park, its quest for balance, and desire for harmony. This year, Highland Park continues to build on its award-winning portfolio by releasing a cask strength expression, Highland Park Cask Strength Release No. 1, which is set to hit shelves in Canada this month.
Cask strength whisky is highly coveted amongst whisky collectors, and for good reason. While most whiskies are diluted with water prior to bottling, to reduce the alcohol-by-volume (ABV) ratio, cask strength liquids are drawn directly from the cask and remain unadulterated. Furthermore, cask strength is very costly to create, as there is no ability to ‘stretch’ the liquid with water, which results in fewer bottles being filled per barrel, when compared to watercut spirits.
Bottled at an ABV of 63.3% with an aroma described as heather honey and freshly grated nutmeg, this extraordinary single malt boasts notes of molten toffee and citrus fruit on the palate, with a finish of lingering peat smoke. Every drop in this bottle exudes Highland Park in its purest form. There is nothing in this whisky other than the whisky itself – nothing but the intensely balanced, award-winning spirit of the Orkney Islands.