The Macallan Rare Cask was first announced in 2014 (with a smoky Rare Cask Black in 2016) but it got a makeover in 2018, with a new style of bottle and a slightly different concept.
It is now turned into an ongoing series of limited batch releases (four per year – the casks are not so rare after all?) aimed at collectors. The liquid has no age statement but it is matured in (mostly first-fill) sherry seasoned casks, American and European oak. Each batch is a vatting of 50 butts bottled at a fairly low 43% ABV.
I’m not a fan of the idea to have a Batch #1 in 2018 and then another Batch #1 in 2019 – why not count on and avoid confusion?
The Macallan Rare Cask – Batch #1
(43%, OB 2019)
Nose: half fruity, half woody. Plenty of raisins and prunes, with cherry Cola and caramel. The darker side of the spectrum, missing a bit of bright fruits for instance. Sticky toffee pudding and maple syrup. The woody side brings nutmeg and ginger. Just a hint of orange zest.
Mouth: drier than expected. A lot of pepper and nutmeg now, mixed with toffee and milk chocolate. Leathery notes, some bitterness as well. Burnt bits of vanilla cake. Dried fruits.
Finish: medium, on chocolate, cinnamon and clove, with subtle citrus.
A spicy, modern take on sherry maturation. Not bad, especially if you like Mexican chocolate, but it’s a little mono-dimensional and far less impressive than the packaging suggests. Available from The Whisky Exchange or now discounted from Green Welly Stop.