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?
Nose: half fruity, half woody. Plenty of raisins and prunes, with cherry Cola and caramel. The darker side of the spectrum. 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. 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.