In recent times, The Macallan has launched a variety of scotch that dominates many whiskey lovers’ liquor cabinets. Unwinding after a long day with a few sips of The Select Oak or savouring the taste of success with a glass of some of the more exclusive selections, there’s a The Macallan whiskey that fits every occasion.
But as David Cox, Director of Fine & Rare Whiskies of The Macallan explains, the distillery had the idea to create a new range of whiskies that showcases some of the oldest casks in its collection. And the Rare Cask, he explains, is “the bridge into a new range coming from The Macallan,” the start of what hopefully will be a step into curating a new class of whiskies with an elevated sense of exclusivity.
The distillery gave its master whiskey maker Bob Dalgarno simple instructions when creating the Rare Cask- “We wanted to develop a new range to showcase the oldest casks we have, but to do so without an age attached to the whiskey,” Cox explains.
The reason for not positioning the whiskey based on its age, Cox says, has to do with the casks that are used. It was agreed the whisky’s quality should justify its high price and that age, in this case, is not the only factor that reflects just how rare this blend is.
“We’ve selected only one per cent of casks at The Macallan for Rare Cask. Sixteen different cask profiles from various cooperages and bodegas were selected, and a total of only 256 casks were used to create the Rare Cask.”
Cox says what makes this number significant, is that many of the older casks originate from the 1980s and early 1990s, when The Macallan was under its previous ownership. “Many of these casks are from bodegas and cooperages that we either no longer work with or no longer exist. The wood used and the way they’ve been heated to create the casks are very different from (sherry production) today. We won’t be able to create the same flavor profiles again.” This puts the Rare in the Rare Cask…
The mahogany-red spirit has a balance of sweet fruity notes as well as hints of spicy ginger, cinnamon and clove. The 16 casks come together to create a rich spirit that leaves lingering notes of vanilla and chocolate, finishing with a soft citrus zest.
The Rare Cask has a production run of only 125,000 bottles, and at HK$2,500, Cox believes the limited number and exceptional quality justifies the price. “It is very important for us that the price reflects the quality of our whiskies. With such a limited number of bottles for the global market, its rarity lives up to its name.”