The Macallan Fine Oak 10 Years Old is the introductory expression in the distillery’s Fine Oak collection, which if anything represents an entirely new approach to whisky making for Macallan. While their traditional Sherry Oak expressions are all matured exclusively in Spanish oak casks, each whisky in the Fine Oak series is triple cask matured using a trio of Spanish oak ex-sherry wine casks, American oak ex-Sherry casks, and American oak ex-bourbon casks.
The result? A lighter, softer, subtly complex whisky with a hint of fruit and vanilla. While the Sherry Oak expressions deliver a full impact of rich toffee and dark fruit (think late night dram by a roaring fire in a wooden lodge surrounded by a winter forest), the Fine Oak expressions are all about the harmonization of lush, tropical fruit, exotic floral spice. Since The Macallan is using American Oak, the Fine Oak expressions will deliver more vanilla notes that many whisky drinkers, especially those in the U.S. Market, have come to appreciate.
The Fine Oak 10 Year is The Macallan’s starting point and one that many beginners will naturally gravitate toward. While the ABV is only 40%, the whisky’s youth carries a vibrant delivery throughout the finish. It is subtly complex with a touch of honey on the palate. It is an excellent compliment to a summer day spent at the beach or in this case, out on a balcony overlooking the city below. Put this one on ice if you’d like (Gasp! Yes, I said ice). It is a social dram that does not command the attention or focus that the others will. If you like your whisky to pack a punch and not break the bank, the Fine Oak 10 Year is perfect for you.
If on the other hand, you’re a whisky nerd like me, this is probably not the dram for you. It’s, for lack of better words, just “OK”. It’s a far cry from The Macallan we have become accustomed to. But then again, even The Macallan website introduces this whisky with the caption “Who says The Macallan isn’t for cocktails?”.