Insights + interviews

The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old – the best of two worlds

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A new addition to their signature whisky duo, creating a new trilogy collection

The Macallan has created a new whisky that plays on their signature style, taking on the best of both Sherry and Fine Oak, and combining them into  The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old.

The whisky benefits from a harmony of flavours and natural colours, that result from a pairing of sherry seasoned European and American oak casks.


Tasting notes shared by the Macallan include:

Nose:  Creamy butterscotch, toffee, candied orange and newly felled oak
Taste: Balanced, honey sweetness, citrus & caramel
Finish: Oak lingers, warm, sweet & drying

We speak with Daryl Haldane (DH), Head of Education at The Macallan about the new whisky and his experiences with travel.


AA: What can we expect from the new Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old and as an addition to the Trilogy Collection? 

DH: We have three 12 year old products, which we like to label the “trilogy”. The name of the three is less important; the most important thing is that people really understand the differences.

The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Years Old is a mix of three cask types (American Oak sherry seasoned casks, European Oak sherry seasoned casks and ex-bourbon casks). The use of ex-bourbon casks offer light, citrus and even floral aromas and flavours. It’s also lighter in colour due to the use of ex-bourbon casks. This is a great aperitif or for an early evening single malt.

The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old is a combination of American oak and European Oak sherry seasoned casks. This combination gives us an incredibly balanced single malt whisky. American oak gives us citrus, creamy vanilla and nuttiness whilst the European oak plays a supporting role, featuring figs, and subtle spice. The Macallan Double Cask is a very versatile single malt due to the balanced style. Try neat, on ice, or even mixed in an old fashioned.

The Macallan Sherry Oak 12 Years Old highlights the rich and robust notes of the European Oak. Made using predominantly European Oak, this Macallan gives us a great sip and savour whisky that serves as the perfect digestif.

AA: The industry seems to be moving towards non aged statements. With this launch, is Macallan bucking the trend and telling the world that age is a key variable?

DH: I don’t believe it is. Look at The Macallan Edition series and The Macallan Rare Cask, these products are brilliant whiskies that don’t have age statements.

Age is an indicator of time spent inside a cask, but bares no reflection on the quality of the whisky. By removing the limitation of age, we are able to select whiskies when we believe they are ready, not when the clock tells us so.

To complement the Fine Oak and Sherry Oak ranges, we felt that having Double Cask as a 12 years old will help us tell the story of our amazing cask story. I know our customers will be happy to see The Macallan Double Cask 12 years old.

AA: Share with us the story of Macallan and its relationship with wood and wood sources.

DH: At the Macallan our casks give us 100% of the colour in our single malts. No artificial colouring is used. We also know that our casks can contribute up to 80% of the final flavour in a single malt whisky. It is for these reasons that we work very closely with our partners at each and every step of the cask making

From the forests, we harvest the trees only when they are at peak maturity. The wood is air dried for around 3 to 4 years to retain the qualities of the oaks. We craft the casks with our partner cooperages in Jerez de la Frontera in the south of Spain. Thereafter, we use Oloroso sherry to season our casks for up to 2 years. These casks will go to Scotland to meet The Macallan spirit and we will mature that spirit until it is selected by the master whisky maker to create The Macallan Double Cask.

It takes about 6 years to make one cask. So when you think about making The Macallan Double cask 12 years old, the plans for those whiskies actually happened 18 to 19 years ago. This is a challenge, but we commit to this wood policy because we believe this is the best way to guarantee that The Macallan single malts are of the highest quality.

AA: Whisky for health. Given your journey from mixologist to whisky expert, what’s your take on drinking for good health and how can we enjoy good drinks for a long time?

I learned as a young man that alcohol is to be enjoyed in moderation. Like most things in life, we need to be mindful that too much of anything can have a detrimental impact on our health. What I recommend is that you enjoy high quality in small amounts. The Macallan Double Cask 12 years old is a great choice to sip and savour in the manner.

AA: Can you share with us any personal anecdotes about your journey with whisky and how it has changed your perspective, travelling and meeting with different countries and cultures?

I have been amazingly fortunate to have travelled the world and shared a glass of whisky with some amazing people.

I have shared a couple of glasses of The Macallan with people who I could not communicate with due to language barriers. We just smile take a sip, laugh and appreciate the company, and the great whisky. I have been to places I never dreamed of going only to find a huge appreciation for single malt and also for Scotland. I find this particularly fascinating and I love to hear what their perception of Scotland and its people is. Especially in places so far away from my home – I find this very satisfying.

My most memorable glass of whisky was my first whisky after the birth of my daughter. I went to my friend’s bar, I sat down and it was the finest glass of whisky I have ever had.This is why I love whisky: It’s more than a drink. It’s an ingredient that will enrich occasions/ life events and I believe it has the ability to capture those moments and feelings in our minds forever.



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