Our journey through The Macallan continues with the Fine Oak 15 Year! Like the Fine Oak 10 Year before it, this whisky is triple matured in a trio of Spanish oak ex-sherry wine casks, American oak ex-Sherry casks, and American oak ex-bourbon casks. They are all matured separately, in this case for at least 15 years, and then married together in a beautiful finish that is the Fine Oak 15 Year expression. The additional 5 years of maturation calms the nerves of a relatively young whisky and introduces new flavors of rose, milk chocolate and raisin. The sweet honey and vanilla flavors from the American oak have evolved while the tropical fruits have started to dry.
Is the 15 Year a significant improvement over the 10 Year? Yes, undoubtedly so. It maintains the same softness and approachability but the overall enjoyability is simply turned up a notch. The ABV is increased from 40% to 43%, which gives the drinker some (but not a ton of) flexibility through dilution. I generally prefer this approach to drinking whisky; beginning with a high ABV and gradually diluting the whisky to release new flavors and aromas at each taste. While 40% is typically ideal for consumption, 43% gives you a little room to play.
Overall, this is a very respectable whisky and one worth trying. Is it worth the $100+ price tag? Eh, that really is the story with The Macallan isn’t it? At that price there are plenty of options to choose from including lesser expensive and in my opinion better expressions from The Macallan itself. Give it a try and see so for yourself!