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The Macallan Double Cask

A Story of Nature at its Best

E600CA23-A5CF-4F30-BC0F-7E8B830451E0@2x Jun 03 2021 · 3 min read

The incredible journey of our wood, and the story of Double Cask, originates far from Speyside in two continents and diverse terrains, thousands of miles apart. Celebrated photographer Steve McCurry documented the unique conditions of the forests that lay the groundwork for the Double Cask range.

Differences Born of Climate and Continent

We use both American and European oak as the variation of climate, temperature and humidity have a distinct impact on the trees and the resulting wood staves that form our casks.


American Oak

American oak is grown and harvested in the forests of Kentucky, Missouri and Ohio. Harvested when they mature to 70 years old, the cooler, more humid conditions of these regions result in a tight grain and less porous wood. Growing tall and straight, American oak contributes lighter notes including citrus, vanilla and coconut.

European Oak

Closely related yet thousands of miles apart, our European oak grows in the hilly northern regions of Spain. Amidst heavy rainfall and mild winters, these slower growing trees mature at around 100 years. 

European oak is distinguished by the high number of tannins present- up to five times as many as the American oak. The tannins provide a level of astringency, as well as help create distinct notes of dried fruits, spices and orange. 


Both of these tree types contribute unique characteristics that play a crucial role in the resulting flavours of The Macallan Double Cask. Up to 80 percent of the flavour, and 100 percent of the colour of our whisky come from our casks.

Once harvested, the trees are left to air dry on location for at least a year. While this has a practical reason, as it cuts down on the weight of the wood for transport and helps to improve its permeability, most importantly air drying the wood ensures that the astringent oils that are naturally present will not negatively impact the final whisky. 


The Macallan Double Cask 12 Years Old

Patiently matured for 12 years in American and European oak sherry seasoned casks creates a distinctive, warm character of this harmonious single malt.

The trees are then quarter cut into staves, and transported to Jerez de la Frontera, Spain where they are left to dry for another year. The moisture of the wood plays an important role when it comes time for the staves to be formed into casks, and ultimately how the whisky oxygenates as it matures. At this stage we wait until the staves have between 12-16 percent moisture content.

Once the wood is dry, it then becomes the key player in a revered and one-of-a-kind process known as ‘the standing of the casks’. It is here, under the pressure of heat and flame, they are shaped by hand into The Macallan casks.

The Next Chapter

Two worlds meet for the first time to face the fire in the cooperages in Jerez, Spain.

In Collaboration with Steve McCurry

From our Home to Yours

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