The new Double Cask scotch whisky releases from The Macallan are incredible sequels to a modest but promising 2016 release. Double Cask 15 and 18 are bigger, better instant classics. Before we can talk about these new bottles, we need to discuss the Double Cask line, and how it compares to Macallan’s other bottles.
Macallan has been known for European sherry casks. The distillery’s classic “sherry bomb” character relies of freshly emptied ex-sherry casks made of European oak to layer nutty, syrupy sweet flavors of fig and prune, chocolate and baking spice. That’s the character of the whiskies that have become legendary in the collectors market, sometimes earning over $1 million per bottle at auction.
Over the last decade, Macallan has added variety to its range in the form of new oak sources. It first created the Fine Oak series (a mix of sherry-seasoned European and American oak casks, plus the addition of some ex-bourbon casks) and more recently, the brand debuted the Double Cask line, which first appeared in 2016 with the release of Double Cask 12-Year.
With two new releases in the Double Cask series, we can finally see the true potential of this line.
Double Cask 15 Year is a brilliantly structured whiskey. The fruit-forward character shows hints of apple and peach brulee, before taking a decidedly tropical turn and showing lemon, mango, and pineapple toward the finish, with a hint of dry ginger spice.
Double Cask 18 Year is decidedly more traditional of a Macallan sherry profile. A few tropical notes are still present in the nose, but once this hits the palate, it’s a melange of baking spices and candied fruits and nuts. Toffee-covered fruit cake takes on a subtle gingerbread aesthetic, and those two notes duke it out for all 15 rounds of a long finish.
Short of the affordably priced (and non-age stated) Edition series, the 18 Year whisky is one of the best things this writer thinks Macallan’s produced for the public at large in years. At $330, it’s a reach to say this is an everyday bottle purchase (the 15 Year, at $135, is delicious and shouldn’t be overlooked). But this new 18 is a definite crowd pleaser, and at 86 proof, it’s exactly the kind of full-bodied dram that everyone in the room will want another pour of.