It may be hard to imagine today, but for much of the 20th century, Macallan was primarily a constituent malt in blends. It was not until the 1980s downturn in the market that the distillery decided to focus on its single malt brand. Fortuitously, this coincided with the crest of a wave of enthusiasm for the high quality releases that the distillery had licensed to Campbell, Hope & King and Gordon & MacPhail in the 1960s and 1970s. These remain some of the most collectible on the market. While global single malt sales volume is still lead by Speyside neighbours, Glenfiddich and Glenlivet, Macallan is easily the most sought after. So much so in fact, that they had to open a brand new distillery in 2018, a subterranean architectural masterpiece within the Easter Elchies estate, boasting 36 copper pot stills.
When Macallan assumed the rsponsibility for their own bottlings from Campbell, Hope & King in 1980, they inherited both an 8 and 12 year old age-statement release, quickly adding a new 10 year old into the mix as well. The 12 year old however was the firm favourite, and is the only of the three still in production today.
This release became known as the Sherry Oak Cask expression in 2018, in order to streamline the distillery output which also included the Double Cask and Triple Cask range.