Sherry cask

The Macallan 18-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review

The Macallan 18-year-old is the kind of whisky someone looking to impress would have in their collection.  After all, a single malt with an 18-year-old age statement carries some weight.  Especially if it comes from the Macallan distillery.

Look past that and focus on the whisky itself.  You’ll find a damn fine example of a Highland single malt.  Macallan 18 is aged exclusively in ex-sherry casks.  It’s known as a sherry bomb, due to the high influence of flavor those casks provide.  This expression is bottled at 43%.

The nose here is spicy, with ginger leading the charge.  Close behind in full force is luscious toffee and sherried dark fruit, with fruit cake rounding off the nose.  The palate isn’t as sweet as the nose suggests.  I get big sherried dark fruit right up front.  There is also some wood smoke and vanilla bean.  Mid-palate, I pick up a nice amount of spice (cinnamon and ginger) along with some bitter orange rind.  Spiced berries and brown sugar carry the medium finish.

Macallan 18-year-old is richer than its 12-year-old sibling.  Flavors are a tad bolder and more refined.  I see the appeal of this over the younger expression.  A bottle of this runs $200+, while the 12-year-old is $60+.  It’s up to you to decide if six extra years of maturation is worth $140.  Value aside, Macallan 18 is an exquisite sherried whisky I thoroughly enjoyed.  Recommended.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Edrington Americas.)

The Macallan 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Review

Macallan 12

The Macallan has built a reputation synonymous with luxury and quality.  Older expressions are some the most valued whiskies among collectors.  It’s a Highland distillery that is generally known as a sherry bomb.  That’s because, with the exception of their Fine Oak line, all their whisky is aged in sherry casks.  Macallan claims it imports most of the sherry casks coming out of Spain.  It’s clear they take their wood selection seriously.

Macallan’s Sherry Oak line ranges from the base 12-year-old expression all the way to a pricy 30-year-old single malt.  Again, all the whiskies here are aged exclusively in ex-sherry casks.  It’s a style of whisky I tend to enjoy.

On the nose, the sherry cask influence can’t be clearer.  There’s an initial blast of dried fruit and a sweet sherry note, followed by some malted grain and a little toffee.  Entry on the palate is all toffee and soft vanilla, over a bed of sherried fruit and spice.  There’s a welcome touch of smoke.  It’s not a peaty smoke, more a wood smoke.  Just a touch.  Mulled wine ends the experience in a rich, slightly dry finish.

If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting a classic sherried whisky, I would suggest you start with this Macallan 12-year-old or Glenfarclas 12-year-old.  Macallan is generally more readily available.  What we have here is a rich, fruit-sweet and slightly spicy Highland single malt.  It’s priced a little higher than a standard 12-year-old Scotch at about $60.  I’d love to see it slightly cheaper, but I do enjoy what’s in the bottle.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Edrington Americas.)