Last Speyside distillery we visit was The Macallan. It was a cold, windy and rainy da – the perfect day to visit distillery (a staple one) and drink some whisky.
The tour was good and informative, our guide (Ian) was knowledgeable but I do have to rant some:
We were not allowed to take pictures at all during the tour. I must admit that I truly do not understand this ban on taking photography all over the distillery. I could understand partial ban such as the stills room (for those distilleries with direct-fired stills) – that’s acceptable, but general ban? really? This ban ruins the capability to attach to the place and totally dampens the fun for visitors.
OK. Enough ranting, what about the tour?
The tour itself was nice and our guide Ian was very knowledgeable and explained us the whisky creation process in details. There was a lot of emphasis on casks management and large part of the tour was devoted to this part including lengthy discussion on the different regions in the USA that supply the wood and casks.
there’s also a section with different glass containers where people can open them and sniff different smells to educate them on smells/notes from the tasting notes and help them understand and calibrate their own nose.
Overall, the tour felt a bit snub, sterile and museum-like – we didn’t encounter any worker during the tour, not even in the still room which was empty and shutdown – the other still room was active but we didn’t go there and that’s a pity – we didn’t get the feeling of an active distillery.
After the tour we went back to the visitors center where we sat down with Ian and tasted Fine Oak 12, 15 and 18.
Overall it was a nice tour but I don’t see myself going for another round anytime soon.
12 Fine Oak yrs
Nose: Vanilla, Milk chocolate, very smooth, light spices coming on 2nd wave
Palate: Oak at first followed by burst of sweet vanilla with some burn sensation in the back of the mouth and troat
Finish: Short, oaky, sweet vanilla at background. So so
Fine Oak 15 yrs
Nose: More sherry impact, red fruits, less chocolate, spicy after some time, peppery. No much vanilla on the nose
Palate: Smooth, dry, spicy, chocolate, some fruits in background. Less oak
Finish: Warm but short, mild sweet oak. good one.
Fine oak 18 yrs
Nose: Subtle at first, need some time to open up in glass, Vanilla, Dried fruits, Spices,
Palate: Oak, vanilla, some spicy oak kicks in after awhile
Finish: Medium, oaky, Spicy, Dry
Conclusion: I liked the Fine Oak 15 best out of those 3 whiskies, but overall I wasn’t impressed from this range. Too bad they don’t let you taste the sherry line up there. (considering that the Fine Oak 18 and the Sherry Oak 18 costs the same)
Distillery In a nutshell
Name: The Macallan
Owners: Edrington group
Location: Easter Elchies, Craigellachie
Water source: Ringorm Burn
Stills: 9 x wash stills and 18 x spirit stills
Capacity (yearly): 8,000,000 Litres
Tour in a nutshell
Tours availability: 10am/3pm (Experience Tour) / 11am/2pm (Precious Tour)
Cost of tour: £10 (Experience Tour) / £20 (Precious Tour)
Length of tour: 1.5 / 2.25 hours
Distillery Exclusive bottles: Easter Elchies (good luck getting one!)