Perhaps the most expensive sample to cross my desk in some time, it's been precarious and difficult to do what I do with many brands: review their offerings, top to bottom. This comes of course, as a result of Macallan's pedigree, prices, and Edrington ownership: they strongly believe in keeping premium prices. You can expect Macallan prices to rise like clockwork. But, focusing on the whiskey: this is Macallan's prestigious 30yr bottling, a member of the Fine Oak series. Featuring a combination of cask maturation - sherry, ex-bourbon, french oak - this expression strays from the brands heavily sherried roots a hair. Let's dig in.
Sweet, buttery, creamy. Oaky tannin, some pop of orange, pear, heather and honey. Not especially potent, but quite layered. A bit going on here.
Medium mouthfeel, a touch of tannin and big, orange, cream. Cracked pepper, a hint of black tea and some faint, woody, bitterness on the back palate. Quite desserty, with the sweetness coming from sweet oak, vanilla and caramel direction.
Medium finish. Sweet again, the oak really drives, and it's clear there's minimal wine influence. Malt and more neutral cask are really driving the finish, with a satisfying, complex, vanilla, candied orange, light peppery finish.
It's hard to find major fault with ol' Mac 30 but at the same time, after 30 years in oak, this feels extremely safe. Maybe that's the key design of OB releases this old (and this expensive) for brands. Nobody will hate it, but at the same time, this feels a bit restrained. The flavors are great, a refined look at what layered oak and cream/vanilla forward dessert look like when really dialed up. It's very good whiskey, and I've rated it accordingly,