The Macallan Double Cask 18 $360

wm

There aren't many more magical pairings than The Macallan and 18. Ferarri and V12, I suppose. Ashford and Simpson. But anyone who's witnessed the continued rise of premium whisky will recognize that the original The Macallan 18 was the bottle that kicked off the trend that paying a princely sum for some aged spirit was a fine idea.

It was as successful as it was bold. Even as other whisky brands rushed to release aged versions of their wares, The Macallan continued to be in higher and higher demand  and prices, likewise continued to climb. But at a certain point even raising prices couldn't stop the demand and you began to see it less and less—at any price. Think for a minute the tremendous challenges facing the whisky maker. If people want more Grey Goose, Grey Goose just increases production. But if more people want more Macallan 18, well your increase in production will be available...in 18 years.

Sure the company came out with excellent alternatives. There was the 1824 that saw the age statements replaced with the terms Gold, Amber, Sienna & Ruby and while the whisky was excellent, there was something about not seeing the age on the bottle that rankled some. And more recently there was Triple Cask 18 (which is still available in our market), which is excellent—it's just not the original 18. For starters it uses, in part, the ex-bourbon fill casks that our the mainstay of many distilleries. There's nothing wrong with them—they're just not the Sherry casks that the Macallan 18 made it's reputation on.

Which brings us to this bottle—The Macallan 18 Double Cask—which has just landed on our shores. The two casks in general are one of American oak (soft vanilla notes) and European oak (more robust and tannic), but both are seasoned with Sherry, not Bourbon. The result is a chip off the ol' Macallan DNA — sugared orange peel, giving way to raisins floating in caramel, all mellowed nicely by those 18 years. It's like welcoming a (wealthy) old friend back home.

I should note the there is a bottle—The Macallan Sherry Oak 18—which also has a claim to being the direct heir to the original 18, but it's not available in Canada and the last time it was its price tag was almost $600. So here's a toast to Double Oak 18—a beautiful whisky dipped in nostalgia, and even at $360 can have you marvelling at all the money you saved.