Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Musings on the Macallan Fine Oak 15 and Various Vessels

On a recent business trip the CA Scotch Couple were anticipating having dinner at a colleague's house. In preparation for the event, they swung past a local liquor store to peruse possible purchases. There on the shelf was a bottle of the Macallan Fine Oak 15. After their very positive experience with the Macallan Fine Oak 17, the CA Scotch Couple snatched it up.

Upon returning to their hotel room, they found a voice message indicating that the dinner plans had changed. They were now meeting several other colleagues at a local restaurant. This left the CA Scotch Couple in a bit of a quandary. Do they haul the whisky along to the restaurant, singling out one colleague over the others for a gift, or do they open the Macallan Fine Oak 15? They debated their usual two seconds before deciding to open it.

Alas, casting about the room, the CA Scotch Couple could only find soft plastic cups. Loyal Scotch Chix Fans may remember the CA Scotch Couple's earlier experience with soft plastic leaching into their whisky, (see Scotch and the Great American Pastime). They called the front desk and discovered there was no real glass in the building. This is precisely the reason why one should never be without one's Trusty Hip Flask. They decided to sample the whisky anyway. 

They poured, sniffed, sampled, and were unpleasantly surprised. Not only was there a definite taste of plastic, the Macallan Fine Oak 15 was not at all similar to its sibling, the Macallan Fine Oak 17. There was no hard candy or sweetness about it. In fact, it had a distinct musty taste with an unpleasant oaky overtone. Maybe it was just the cups. The CA Scotch Couple searched the room for more options. 

The only other cups in the room were Styrofoam coffee cups. These were not those usual little white Styrofoam. They were larger, hard packed Styrofoam, and they appeared to have a coating on the inside. The CA Couple gave them a try, assuming that, even with the coating, the Styrofoam would melt. The cups appeared to hold up just fine — no visible melting, and no plastic taste. Still the Macallan 15 Fine Oak remained musty and oaky. Maybe there was a Styrofoam effect after all. 

CA Scotch Chick set off across the street to a Big Lots in search of real glass. She bought 2 jelly glasses for a dollar, and headed back to the hotel for a side by side comparison with each of the three types of vessels. The CA Scotch Couple poured a little in each cup/glass and started sampling. There was no mistaking the plastic taste in the soft cup. The effect was not their imagination. Surprisingly, the Styrofoam and the glass had very similar tastes. Alas, it was the Macallan Fine Oak 15 giving the unpleasant taste, not the Styrofoam. Tasting more carefully now that they had real glasses, the CA Scotch Couple determined that the palate wasn't the issue. It was mild with a slightly sweet taste. It was the finish that hit one hard.

The experiment revealed a few discoveries. When stranded in a hotel room with no glasses, it is probably better to reach for the coffee cups than the drinking cups. Soft plastic definitely changes the flavor of Single Malt Whisky, while reinforced Styrofoam appears to withstand any leaching. There is a caveat, however; the CA Scotch Couple do not know what would happen with a regular white Styrofoam cup. Finally, not all of the Macallan Fine Oak line has that sweet candy taste. In fact, the CA Scotch Couple thought that there was a distinct musty and oaky finish to the Macallan Fine Oak 15 — a sad revelation. 

Below, please find the review of the Macallan Fine Oak 15.

No comments: