The Macallan Fine Oak 12 Year Old

Reviewed by: Nick


I just can’t get my head around (The) Macallan. While I can very clearly visualise and appreciate the ranges of, say, Glenfiddich, Glen Moray or Glendronach, trying to form a coherent picture of what Macallan is about is as likely to give me a headache as drinking way too much of the stuff. And not just because it doesn’t start with the word Glen…

The contradictions are plentiful: many an old-time whisky drinker will cite Macallan as their go-to drop. Yet the distillery spent a fortune to get a bottle of 50 Year Old in a Bond film. And for some reason they recently ditched age statements in favour of… colours? And yet not too long ago there was also Macallan’s ‘Fine Oak’ range, one such bottle being the subject of today’s review.

I don’t get the point of the ‘Fine Oak’ series. As far as I can tell, it takes its name from the many “exceptional quality” oak casks the whisky was matured in. But… does that mean their older range was dumped into low quality barrels? Somehow I doubt it. It seems to be another rebranding dead-end left by the wayside by an impatient marketing team.

Despite all this, the whisky itself is great to drink. The nose is light, vibrant and contains finely balanced notes of vanilla and lime. The palate is sweet without being sickly and flavours of honey and malt take centre stage. The finish is short without being unsatisfying, with a creamy nuttiness that gently lingers: it’s Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut in whisky form! All up, it’s a brilliantly balanced dram, and one that you could confidently pour to a hesitant whisky drinker.

The biggest disappointment is that this bottle is no longer available – if I were to seek something similar I would have to try a different bottle in the Macallan range. As much as I enjoyed this particular drop, I’m wary to spend up on something else from the distillery. Macallan seems to be undergoing somewhat of an identity crisis and I’m probably unlikely to go and buy a bottle until they sort it out – that is unless I get some pretty convincing recommendations in the comments!




  1. Howdy Wafflers, odd..the Fine Oak range is still alive & well here in the US, with a 10, 15, 17 & 21 available. Odd though, that the 12 is absent (but the regular 12 is still on the shelves). When I asked the Macallans folks about rumors of the age statement whiskies going away, they protested that was not the case, FWIW.


    1. Interesting stuff. Well here in Aus finding a macallan bottle with an age statement on it is like finding a needle in a haystack. And I know how much you love the regular 12 – I would just love to be able to try it!
      On the topic, what do you think of the 1824 range? Any worth investigating?
      Keep on waffling,


      1. Hi Nick, is htere an 1824 style they are offering? If so, I haven’t seen the 1824 here. We only see what the munificent state decides is worth buying (they have a monopoly on liquor sales).


      2. The 1824 series is their ‘gold’ ‘ruby”sienna’ (sienna?) series where their whiskies are classified by colour rather than age. Kinda laughable in a world of E150A colouring but that’s their angle. It’s certainly not cheap (at least here in Aus) and I’m just slightly skeptical of the whole situation.
        Keep on waffling,

        Liked by 1 person

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