How well do you know your whiskey?

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A few days ago I had the privilege of tasting of the world’s finest whiskeys. The Macallan, one of the world’s greatest single malt whiskies, will be launching the triple cask matured Fine Oak Range in South Africa in September, 2016. A firm favourite: Fine Oak 15 will be re-introduced, and two new expressions will also be introduced, the Fine Oak 12-year-old and Fine Oak 18 year old.

The Fine Oak range is triple cask matured in a combination of European oak sherry casks, American oak sherry seasoned casks and American bourbon casks, delivering a more diverse yet subtle style of whisky, whilst maintaining The Macallan’s core DNA which is a focus on sherry seasoned oak casks, natural colour, and rich, fruity full-bodied flavours and mouth feel.

To craft Fine Oak, The Macallan ships new oak from America across thousands of miles to Spain, where oak casks are crafted and sherry seasoned before travelling to the distillery on Speyside to mature for twelve years. These whiskies are then combined with those aged in the very best sherry seasoned European oak casks and American Bourbon casks. This approach reveals an unmatched investment in time and extraordinary commitment to mastery for which The Macallan has been known for, since 1824.
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Bob Dalgarno, Master Whisky Maker at The Macallan explains, “The Macallan Fine Oak requires a distinctive approach to whisky making. Being created from a triple cask combination, both sherry and bourbon seasoned, we are working with a broader spectrum of character. The resulting versatile single malt, which offers up great flavour diversity.”
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The Fine Oak range will sit alongside The Macallan 1824 Masters Series which is available in South Africa, including Rare Cask, Reflexion, No.6 and M, – which now offers The Macallan fan a wider choice of whiskies from the portfolio.

“The Macallan Fine Oak Range is an extraordinary range of whiskies which bear testament to the incredible wood story of The Macallan, reintroducing this range into the South African market at a time where malt whisky demand and interest is at its highest is an exciting transition for The Macallan brand. This represents our ambition to translate our ultimate luxury spirit positioning and obsession with craft and quality to produce a peerless spirit, in one of the world’s most exciting malt whisky markets,” commented Mac Mabidilala, Africa Marketing Manager.

Commenting at the global launch of The Macallan Fine Oak range, whisky expert Jim Murray said: “The breadth and depth and sophistication of The Macallan Fine Oak range is simply jaw-droppingly good.”

The Macallan Fine Oak Range is available from selected liquor stores and online retailers (RRP for 12 starts from R599, 15 – R999 and 18 from R2500 in Limited Stock).

What makes the Fine Oak Range exceptional?

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The American oak casks are crafted from timber sourced in the woodlands of Ohio, Tennessee and Missouri and are logged by third generation woodsmen, who are personally selected by The Macallan’s own Master of Wood. Some of these casks will mature bourbon in humid Kentucky warehouses for three years, before the long journey to Scotland. Others will be transported to Jerez, in Spain, to be filled with sherry.
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The addition of American oak bourbon seasoned barrels imparts aromas and flavours slightly drier and oakier than the American oak sherry casks, with more pronounced aromas and flavours of coconut, but still with the lighter colour and sweetness associated with American oak.

The European oak sherry casks begin life in the dense, sustainable forests of Northern Spain and each cask is handcrafted in the cooperages of Jerez where they are fired to ensure the spirit penetrates deep into the wood. These casks will then be seasoned with sherry for a minimum of two years before being transported to The Macallan Distillery in Speyside for filling with new make spirit.