The Macallan Fine Oak 17 Year Old is a triple cask matured whisky produced using European ex-sherry oak, American ex-sherry oak and American ex-bourbon casks. It’s a very soft and approachable whisky, perhaps even more so than the first two simply due to the mellowing affect that the additional maturation has on the spirit.
As many of you have pointed out, the 17 Year is sold at more than twice the price of the 15 Year. Is it worth it? That is always a difficult question to answer. Let me just say this, the whisky certainly evolves in those two years. It is undoubtedly more complex and more refined than its younger sibling. The fresh, tropical fruits have matured quite nicely and a subtle wood smoke, perhaps that of heather, has been introduced for the first time in this Fine Oak series. It is noticeably sweeter on the palate as well. The finish is longer with fading notes of almond and vanilla encouraging you to drink more. When we think of The Macallan, their brand, their reputation and the overall concept that is the Fine Oak series, all of these things have finally come into sync with this 17 Year.
Those of you who have been following my posts over the past several months will know that I tend to prefer whisky that is bold and daring, something that will pick you up and drag you across a cold, wet, grassy plain before being tossed into a bonfire and cast into the nearby sea. I like whisky in vogue. This is anything but. At all. And you know what? It was never intended to be. However, if you pause, disconnect from your surroundings and simply focus on the dram in your glass, you will find a whisky that is bursting with complexity. Subtle, yes, but true complexity nonetheless. This is no less an experience than the peat smoke rollercoaster I just described earlier. It’s just a different one. If you are a seeking an elegant, approachable whisky and have the means to swing the hefty price tag, then this one is for you.