Sampling a fantastic Scotch is an experience that requires nothing more than a few moments to relax and let the flavours play across your palate. All you need is a good whisky, and the time to enjoy it, but having the right location, good company, and great food can make a whisky moment truly a soulful experience that goes a step beyond. Commemorating the launch of The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, which is now available in Canada, I was fortunate to enjoy a memorable whisky moment recently with the company of The Macallan’s emeritus ambassador, Marc Laverdiere, and an excellent mix of cheeses, chocolates, and food pairings.
Sitting down at Michael’s on Simcoe in Toronto, Laverdiere introduced me to Double Cask 12 Years Old–which has been aged in both American oak and European oak casks–alongside The Macallan Amber and my favorite bottle of Scotch, The Macallan Sienna. Laverdiere is a charming, passionate, and most of all, knowledgeable expert on all things Macallan, and I’ve been fortunate to spend some time with him before sampling the company’s Scotch. This time was exceptionally intimate and the setting could not have been more perfect to try the new whisky.
Sampling the Scotch first on its own, The Macallan Double Cask has an unmistakable oaky aroma. The Scotch is creamy, very easy on the palate, and reminds me of honey drizzled over toast, and a hint of spice and heat, before a finish like vanilla bean over dried peach.
The flavour is at once familiar, and comforting, while expressing new flavours from other Macallan whiskies. For instance, where my favorite Macallan whisky–Sienna–is complex and just a bit bolder, Double Cask is incredibly smooth from start to finish with just a touch of sweetness as it fades off your palate.
As Laverdiere pointed out during our conversation, it of course makes perfect sense that the new blend should taste familiar because every variation of The Macallan starts with the same spirit. After aging and blending, the spirit has taken on new flavours and notes, but the spirit at its core is the same. The difference is really the journey over those 12 or more years of aging, and that’s what you’re really enjoying when you sit down for a dram.
To enjoy sampling the incredible Scotch, our table was covered with treats: candied orange enrobed in chocolate, milk and dark chocolate pieces, cheese, and candied nuts. Plus the waiter brought delicious tapas as well: incredible skewers of shrimp, chicken, and a mouth-watering scallop, all of which tasted spectacular with the Double Cask whisky.
The pairings were fascinating, to see how the cheese tasted with the Amber or the Double Cask, but I especially enjoyed pairing the dark chocolate with the Sienna, and the truly wonderful candied orange seemed to pair beautifully with all three whiskies.
And as we sampled the trio of whiskies, Laverdiere talked about the distillery, the blending process, and how The Macallan Double Cask differed from other blends.
Making The Macallan Double Cask starts with new American oak that arrives in Spain, where the casks are crafted and seasoned, and then sent to The Macallan distillery on Speyside, Scotland. The whisky spirit then matures in the casks for at least 12 years before it’s blended with spirit that was matured in sherry seasoned European oak casks for at least 12 years as well. The result is The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old, which features the unmistakably natural colour you expect from the distillery.
The whole tasting lasted about 40 minutes, but I could have happily sat with Laverdiere longer, and talked about whisky, and The Macallan.
As a long-time fan of whisky maker, I was truly impressed with the experience, and the Double Cask 12 Years Old Scotch is excellent, and priced alongside Amber, which is a great value for the spirit. While I have a lot of Scotch in my house, I’m certainly already looking forward to the next time I get to sample Double Cask again. Thanks to both The Macallan and Marc Laverdiere for the truly unforgettable experience.