There's been an undeniable 'non-age statement' trend in the whisky industry over the past few years, with many distilleries increasing the range and volume of their NAS whiskies.
Sometimes this replaces age-statement counterparts in certain markets (like Glenlivet's Founders Reserve, which has replaced the old-faithful 12yo in many countries); at other times, it complements the standard age-statement lineup (such as Laphroaig Select).
We've also seen several major NAS releases from The Macallan, most notably the Edition No.1 and Rare Cask– all of which makes it interesting (and slightly refreshing) to see The Macallan's latest whisky being released with an age statement!
You might wonder where The Macallan 12yo Double Cask, which launches in Australia this month, sits against the 12yo Sherry Oak and 12yo Fine Oak. Put simply, it's smack in the middle.
The 12yo Sherry Oak is matured in a mixture of American Oak sherry casks and European Oak sherry, with more influence from the latter.
The 12yo Fine Oak is matured in a mixture of American Oak sherry casks, European Oak sherry casks, and American Oak bourbon casks.
The 12 year old Double Cask is matured in a mixture of American Oak Sherry casks and European Oak sherry, albeit with a higher proportion of American Oak sherry casks used than the traditional 12yo Sherry Oak – we're told it's very close to 50:50.
But how does that translate into the taste?
The Macallan 12yo Double Cask
Colour: Light gold.
Nose: Distinctively (sherried) Macallan, which for us means Christmas cake and dried fruits, but also flinty matchheads... however there's also honey here. It's noticably lighter on the nose than its Sherry Oak sibling.
Palate: The same notes you can find in the 12yo Sherry Oak are here – raisins, brazil nuts, orange zest and dried apricots, but it's all just a bit lighter and sweeter, with a good dollop of honey thrown into the mix.
Finish: The sherry influence also crops up there, but it doesn't dominate the finish. There's a floral, citrusy note at the end that we haven't seen on the more traditional sherried Macallans, but is evident on the Fine Oak 12.
Rating: 91/100. An enjoyable and very sippable dram that perfectly fills the gap between the 12yo Sherry Oak and Fine Oak bottlings.
Details: 40% ABV, A$110