The Single Cask Whisky Review #53: Macallan 1997 16 Years Old

February 12, 2017

The Single Cask Whisky Review #53: Macallan 1997 16 Years Old

This week's review focuses on an expression of Macallan which isn't seen as much as in previous years, primarily due to its importance as a single malt and as a component in the various blends it plays a part in.

The Macallan distillery is located in Craigellachie, Moray, which puts it within the boundaries of Speyside. However, for some reason, the distillery is not recognised as such. As of 2009, the labelling of Scotch whisky bottles has been regulated by the Scottish government and this created a bit of a conundrum.

Under these new regulations, only whisky that is produced within the traditional wards of Speyside were allowed to utilise the regional designation on their bottles. However, the ward of Craigellachie does not fall within this designation for some reason, thus creating the confusion.

For the most part, The Macallan identifies itself as being a Highland single malt, with the whisky being produced in a style more reminiscent of the Highlands rather than a Speyside whisky. Curiously though, the website indicates that the stills at the distillery are “the smallest in Speyside”, which might help to explain some of the confusion.

Historically, The Macallan has maintained a heavily sherried and unpeated house style which has made them synonymous with exceptional quality around the world. In 2004, however, they decided to do a little bit of experimentation with whiskies matured in bourbon casks and realised that it was something they could work with.

The focus of this week's review is one of these bourbon-matured Macallan expressions which was distilled in 1997, matured for 16 years and bottled by independent bottler Cooper's Choice at a standard abv of 46% abv.

So, let's dive right into the review!

 Macallan 1997 16 Years Old (46% abv, Bottled by Cooper's Choice)

Colour: Burnished copper

Nose: Initial entry presents some sweet malt, cinnamon, lemon peel and oak, along with a vestigial hint of dried apricots. With time, the cinnamon and oak grow in stature and accentuate the malty profile of this dram. Barley sugar makes an appearance late on to complement the existing elements.

Palate: The elements identified on the nose also appear on the palate, with sweet malt and lemon peel up first along with lemon juice, cinnamon, oak, black pepper and hints of raisins. The dried apricot hints are more reserved on the palate and prefers to linger in the background.

Finish: Medium on the finish, with the oak and cinnamon becoming more pronounced as time goes on.

Balance: A relatively well-balanced dram which showcases a fair bit of complexity and depth. The maturation in ex-bourbon casks has provided the typical elements which complenents the relatively fruity Macallan base spirit.

This expression of Macallan can be purchased by the bottle or the dram for in-bar consumption or by the bottle for retail/takeaway purposes. Please approach our friendly staff for more information and they will be more than happy to assist you with your queries.

Written By Brendan Pillai for The Single Cask 

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