Liquor Showcase: Macallan 18 Year Sherry Oak Cask Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey
The Macallan Sherry Oak 18 Year Single Malt Scotch Whiskey was released in 2018 and remains a big seller in the Macallan line. The 18 Year is part of their Sherry Oak range, which features a series of single malt whiskeys matured exclusively in hand-picked sherry seasoned oak casks from Jerez for richness and complexity. Flavorful, balanced, and complex, the Macallan 18 Year Sherry Oak Single Malt Scotch Whiskey is definitely a must-try for all whiskey lovers!
The Production Process
After the barley is harvested on the Macallan Estate each fall, it’s malted and mashed in one of The Macallan's two mash tuns, a process that takes several hours. Then, the barley is fermented with a specially cultured yeast before being distilled twice through their copper-pot stills.
Distillers then collect approximately 16% of the spirit to put into casks for maturation. Macallan 18 Year Old Sherry Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky is matured, or aged, for nearly two decades in a combination of sherry-seasoned Spanish oak and sherry- seasoned American oak casks – which is how it gets such a rich, complex flavor.
The Sherry Oak Flavor
As a result of the sherry-casks, The Macallan 18 Year Old Sherry Oak Single Malt Scotch Whisky has an aroma of dried fruits and ginger root, along with notes of vanilla and cinnamon. The palate is bursting with orange citrus and clove, as well as a very subtle wood smoke, and leads an elegant finish filled with toffee, oak, almonds, and dried mangos.
All of these flavors are well complemented by a light mahogany natural color indicative of the Macallan brand, and oftentimes it’s how you can tell a Macallan apart from other whiskeys.
Behind the Macallan Whiskey Brand
The Macallan distillery was founded by Alexander Reid, a barley farmer, and school teacher, on a plateau above the river Spey in north-east Scotland in 1824. Farmers had been making whiskey on their Speyside farms in the area for centuries, using their surplus barley during the quieter winter months.
The distillery itself is surrounded by a 485-acre estate, and it was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed. Since then, the brand has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading single malt whiskeys.
Sourced, crafted, toasted, and seasoned under the guidance of the Macallan Master of Wood, the hand-picked casks are always sourced to perfection – the quality of the whiskey, many say, is largely dependent on the quality of the oak casks it’s matured in.
Where the Natural Color of the Whiskey Comes From
An interesting note: all of Macallan’s whiskeys take 100% of their color from the wood in which they are matured. As wood is a natural product, each tree is different and imparts different flavors and colors to the whiskey during maturation.
The skill of the whiskey makers ensures the color is as consistent as possible from bottling to bottling, through the management and selection of the casks that provide the spectrum of natural color essential to The Macallan single malt.
What Cocktails to Make With It
Though most whiskey enthusiasts would say it’s best on the rocks with an ice ball, there are a few ways to step up your cocktail game with this high-end scotch whiskey:
- Old Fashioned
- The Rob Roy
- Rusty Nail
- Scotch Sour