Tasting Notes: Macallan Fine Oak 10

The Macallan is a brand that is no stranger to either the whisky novice or the whisky expert. And with good reason; Macallan has a long history of making some delicious liquids. We’ve done a tasting of Macallan here before, and WhiskyParty found that The Macallan 18 accomplished a perfect marriage of smokiness and creaminess. That perfect marriage costs over $150. The ability to include a Macallan whisky in a 40 under $40 post feels like an accomplishment in itself; The Macallan name is almost synonymous with luxury and quality.

You don’t have to look far for examples of that association — The Macallan is the whisky that went into the World’s Most Expensive Cocktail in Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. It is a whisky that comes in Lalique crystal. It is even a whisky which can randomly advertise/partner with Panerai watches on The Macallan Website and almost succeed in not looking too ridiculous (almost).

The Macallan Fine Oak series was created in 2004 and comes in 10, 15, 17, 21, and 30 year expressions. Very distinct from the more widely known sherried Macallans, the Macallan Fine Oak is triple cask matured in a combination of European sherry oak casks, American sherry oak casks, and American bourbon oak casks.

ABV: 40%

Legs: Medium, very slow and clingy.

Color: Crystallized light gold.

Nose: Vanilla, oak, banana. Not necessarily the best nose, but a good light whisky nose.

Taste: Lots of wood and malt. The vanilla from the nose stays away at first though the bananas are still there, sweeter. There are also some berries present.

Finish: Short, puckering and at first drying. Spices become evident and then the vanilla creeps in with more of that hint of berries that then get the juices flowing. It’s sweet and tasty yet over too soon.

Overall: Macallan 10 Fine Oak is just that — a fine, oaky whisky. It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s a good and decent whisky that though enjoyable to drink, just doesn’t overwhelm you with its charms. It’s pretty interesting that you can taste the influence of both wood types (bourbon with the vanilla and sherry with the bananas and the berries). When it comes down to it, perhaps the whisky is just still a bit young and needs more time to get some better flavors out of the wood — I remember really liking the Macallan 15 Fine Oak when I tried it, and everyone seems to love the Fine Oak 17.

So, this is a perfectly good whisky, and something nice to have on your shelf if you want to have a Macallan but don’t want to drop more money for the Fine Oak 15 or even twenty more dollars for the Macallan 12 (which is absolutely delicious). It’s just not the most standout whisky you can buy for under $40.