Few distillers take wood as seriously as The Macallan does. They spend an obscene amount on sherry seasoned casks and they even have a Master of Wood to oversee the brand’s two cooperages, cask production and care. So when the distillery releases something they deem fit to call a Rare Cask, you better believe it.
The Macallan Rare Cask was created using less than 1 per cent of the distillery’s cask stores and spans 16 different cask styles. These were selected by Master Whisky Blender Bob Delgarno, who has been making whisky for The Macallan for the past 19 years. Without an expression to recreate or an age statement to adhere to, Delgarno was free to create whatever he wanted. And for a man who does his job using only his memory, nose and palate – no pre-existing recipes or spreadsheets involved – you can be assured that a wild card like the Rare Cask will be nothing short of spectacular.
This is the kind of opportunity that can only come from having a no-age statement (NAS) whisky. It would be unfair to judge a whisky like the Rare Cask based on its youngest spirit (which The Macallan is understandably tight-lipped about) when it also houses spirits that could be much older than what’s in, say, a 25 YO. And some of the casks are rare in the literal sense, never having had a chance to be part of a regular Macallan expression because the wineries that produced those casks are no longer around.
What you can judge though, is its flavour, and the Rare Cask doesn’t hold back on that front. It opens up with a heady nose of vanilla and raisins before mellowing into apple and lemon notes. The spicy, woody palate hints at vanilla, chocolate and citrus flavours. Those keen on preview can stop by the interactive exhibit set up at The White House till 2 August 2015, which chronicles the journey from acorn to bottle. Tasting sessions are held on the weekends, and you can sign up at www.TheMacallanRareCask.com.sg