It is difficult, if not impossible, to go wrong with a dram of Macallan in any of its forms, and the distillery’s 15-year-old Fine Oak expression is no exception to that rule.
The Fine Oak line is aged in a combination of three casks — ex-sherry casks from European oak, ex-sherry casks from American oak, and ex-bourbon casks from American oak. The expression comes in nine different ages from 8 to 30 years old — so this 15 year is actually on the young side of the range.
Surprisingly light in color for a 15-year, that lightness carries over to the body, which offers a taste of honey and vanilla around an applesauce core. The finish is light and quick, leaving a fresh feel in the mouth and, of course, a thirst for another glass.
I normally prefer single malt a little fuller in body than this, but it’s so easygoing it’s hard not to enjoy it despite its “lite” Scotch character. This is a warm-weather malt and one you needn’t feel bad about enjoying on the rocks or even with soda, if that’s your thing, though I find it fully enjoyable served neat, with or without water. That said, it’s tough to justify a $40 premium over the “standard” 12-year Sherry Oak Macallan, which has the same DNA but packs a bigger, fuller body and a rich flavor that makes it such an unequivocal favorite.
B+ / $78 / themacallan.com