Whiskey Season 2016 – Round Four

Here we go with round four! Don't worry, however, as I've only got one whisky to show you this time. I thought it might be nice to let everyone catch their breath and recover a bit before the next wave hits. Our latest Hepburn's Choice edition is another teaspooned cask, which means once again (as with the Balvenie) we're dealing with a blended malt whisky: one that is 99.9999% Macallan and .0001% something else. I was really overwhelmed by this cask when I tasted it in Glasgow and having tasted it again this morning I'm still impressed. I often hear people say things like "I don't get why Macallan is a big deal," when looking at the astronomical prices for the whisky on the market today. I'll admit: I feel that way as well sometimes, but when I tasted this particular specimen everything came into focus. It's a simple, no frills, ten year old hogshead cask that is as basic as basic gets. But in that simplicity is complete balance and grace. Without the bright lights, the make-up, the pomp, and the heavy Oloroso sherry maturation, Macallan is a pretty damn good whisky. The proof? It's right here. It's all sweet grains, lush fruit, and soft vanilla. But man is it good. So is the price.

2006 William Hepburn (Macallan) 10 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Malt Whisky $49.99- Here again we have a "teaspooned" single cask of whisky, meaning the distillery has added a teaspoon of a second malt whisky to prevent the bottler from using the brand name. That doesn't mean we can't tell you who made the whisky, however; it just means we can't market it or label it as a single malt! This ten year old gem of a malt whisky was made at Macallan (all but that teaspoon) and has all the classic fruit flavor one would expect from the classic distillery. It's rich and round on the palate with bright and pleasant notes of stonefruit, honey, rich malted grains, and supple vanilla. It's utterly pleasing and for the price it's a whisky you can't turn your back on. Getting cask strength Macallan is hard enough these days, let alone finding a barrel for this price.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll