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Whisky of the Week: Macallan Doubles Down for Chinese New Year

This two-bottle set of whisky celebrates the Year of the Dog.

The Macallan Year of the Dog Photo: Courtesy The Macallan

Good things come in pairs. This year, dog lovers and aficionados of premium single-malt whiskies have two reasons to welcome the Chinese Year of the Dog, which begins on February 12, 2018, and represents year 11 in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac. This dual celebration comes from the award-winning Speyside distillery of the Macallan in the form of a double dose of its Double Cask 12 Year Old single malt.

Macallan’s Chinese New Year Limited Edition Gift Box ($130) contains not one, but two identical, commemoratively labeled, and attractively packaged 750 mL bottles of the Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Old whisky, with only 2,500 sets being made available in the United States. One bottle is meant to be enjoyed on a special occasion with friends (who might just also be fellow dog and whisky aficionados), while the other can be kept as a potential collectible, or perhaps to be opened during a future celebratory moment.

Macallan Double Cask 12 Year Old is admirably suited to both events, as this honeyed-toffee and candied-citrus dram is as gentle as a Labrador’s kiss but possesses a lingering essence of the Macallan’s signature caramel and raisin nuances. This results from the whisky aging 12-plus years in 100 percent sherry-seasoned American oak barrels, while identical whiskies are aged in European oak barrels. These whiskies are then combined, thus imparting the best flavor components from two distinctly different sherry-cask styles.

In addition to being a salute to the Chinese Year of the Dog, this 86-proof limited edition is also a tribute to the Macallan’s ongoing passion for aging its whiskies in barrels that go beyond the distillery’s historic stature with sherry-barrel maturation alone. With a predominantly dry-oak finish derived from American oak casks and a woody spice from the European casks, this is indeed a dram to savor alongside your best friend, whether he or she has two legs or four.

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