Part 1: Time, wisdom and wood; The story of The Macallan cask
Cask Facts: More than a Tree
Historically, sherry-seasoned oak casks used for maturing Scotch whisky were simply convenient transport vessels for shipping sherry to the UK.
As the scotch industry developed, the demand for higher quality casks and the unique value of these sherry oak casks was realised.
American oak for maturing Scotch whisky likely began in the early 20th century, but became more prevalent due to the difficulties in obtaining Spanish oak casks during the Spanish Civil War.
Drying The Wood
Typical flavours associated with European oak: dried fruits, orange citrus, spice
MASTER OF WOOD: Stuart MacPherson
As our Master of Wood, Stuart is the primary source of information on The Macallan’s oak casks and the influence on the whiskies. He is intimately acquainted with every step of the wood journey, and is particularly involved with the cooperages in Spain, with a key focus on managing the cask suppliers.
- Stuart helps to ensure the critical supply of the highest quality sherry seasoned oak casks to The Macallan
- Overseeing every stage of the process is essential as the influence of the oak maturation casks on the final character of The Macallan is integral
- The huge investment in these casks pays a dividend in the distinctive character of the final whisky, accounting for up to 80% of the final aromas and flavours of The Macallan
- He is also involved in the far reaching brand education programme around wood
- He is part of The Macallan Whisky Mastery Team, integrated to reflect the complete whisky making process and the vital influence of wood on the character of The Macallan.
CUTTING & DRYING
Typical flavours associated with American oak: vanilla, lemon citrus, coconut