Tag Archives: Macallan Shop

Macallan ‘Classic Cut’ 2017

Bought: Macallan Distillery Shop, 9th February 2018

88.84/100 – Whiskybase (average from 88 member votes)

I’ve always wanted a cask strength Macallan. Back in August 2016 I discovered 12 different bottlings of Macallan produced by Single Malts Direct. They ranged from 47.2% for a 1989 vintage to 55.4% for the youngest offering distilled in 1997. The cost ranged from £69 to £92 but at 50cl I felt the price was quite steep. Those were the days! 2 years later and independent bottlers charge a fortune for an outrun of Macallan. Back in 2016 I hesitated and when I returned to make a purchase all 12 bottlings had sold out.

Early in 2018 I got an email from Macallan distillery about the new ‘Classic Cut’. There was no mention of “cask strength” but at 58.4% it sounded like it ought to be. I ordered a bottle. In late 2017 Macallan released 7 new bottles in the ‘Exceptional Cask’ series, all of which had “Cask Strength” written on them. The youngest bottles were two 12yos at 63.8% and 65.2%, which suggests that Macallan’s casks and warehousing keeps the raw spirit high, even after 12 years. By the time we get to a 15yo ‘Exceptional Cask’ it’s 58.5%, 0.1% stronger than the Classic Cut. Wow, does that mean the Classic Cut is a 15yo? Sadly not. At £86 the Classic Cut is going to be young and unless it was badly stored or mixed with old, weak spirit, it’s been watered down to 58.4%. So it’s highly unlikely to be cask strength – damn!

Macallan are no fools. ‘Cask strength’ is one of the buzz phrases in the whisky world at the moment so if the Classic Cut were truly cask strength it would be emblazoned on the bottle and box for all to see as it was with the ‘Exceptional Cask’ range. But it’s close enough for me! And scoring nearly 89/100 on Whiskybase the Classic Cut is hitting Macallan 18yo territory. The Classic Cut is clearly an excellent whisky but, dare I say, it’s also proving to be a very good investment. 7 months after purchase and auction prices have hit £150. But if you want a bottle and £150 seems rather pricy for a non-cask strength NAS, Macallan say on their website “the first in a new series of annual releases”. The Classic Cut 2018 has already been announced but at a much weaker 51.2% (even less likely to be cask strength). I wonder how much Macallan will charge given the success of the 2017 version?

What Macallan say about the Classic Cut:

Nose: Creamy vanilla custard, sweet ginger, fresh sweet oak.
Palate: Caramel, orange zest, nutmeg spice.
Finish: Warming oak with a sweet mouth coating.

Here’s Liquor Hound with his thoughts on YouTube about the Macallan ‘Classic Cut’ 2017 and how it compares to older cask strength Macallans, even though he doesn’t believe that the Classic Cut is cask strength (November 2017):


Macallan 12-year-old ‘Fine Oak’ Ernie Button Box

Bought: Macallan Online Shop, 23rd March 2016

95.5/100 – Whisky Bible 2016
88/100 – Whiskybase (from 1 member vote)

In March 2016 I found out online that Macallan were releasing 5,000 bottles of 12yo Fine Oak with the first 1,500 coming in a limited edition Ernie Button box (professional photographer). It was restricted to the UK and at £55 and free postage it seemed reasonable for a discontinued 12yo. I registered my interest and was one of the lucky 1,500 to get the special box. I can’t wait to taste it! The whisky that is, not the box. Have I really become a cardboard collector? It’s worrying times.

Although the box might be unusual the whisky is the standard 12yo Fine Oak. I already have a bottle but, since Jim Murray regards it so highly, I got this latest as an investment so I can drink the other one. 95.5/100 in the Whisky Bible is the highest mark Jim Murray gives to any of the former Macallan age statements (10yo, 12yo ‘Sherry Oak’ and 15yo). Even the 18yo, 21yo, 25yo, 30yo, 40yo and 50yo distillery releases take a back seat compared to the 12yo Fine Oak in Mr Murray’s opinion. Needless to say Whiskybase doesn’t agree where the default version of this bottle only scores 81.5/100 from 288 member votes. That classifies it as ‘good’ but not remarkable. My special box version has been given its own Whiskybase page where one member has kindly scored it 88/100. Clearly a Macallan fan, which is really who this release was aimed at.

One month after this £55 bottle came out and someone sold one at auction for, wait for it, £55. You have to laugh at the greed of some people. Sometimes they get lucky like with the Yamazaki Distiller’s Reserve where it sold at auction for £90 when supermarkets were selling it for £45. But take postage, commission, etc from the £55 winning bid and they clearly made a loss. I’ll be hanging onto mine for years rather than minutes but if I run out of milk I might have it in my coffee and put butter and cheese on the box.

Macallan 12yo Fine Oak Ernie Button box 70cl