Macallan 12 Double Cask

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Distillery/Brand: Macallan | Region: Highland | ABV: 40% | Colour: Gold
Nose: 7.5 | Palate: 7.4 | Finish: 7.3 | Overall Score: 7.4

Review
First up, apologies for the radio silence (for the two people who may have noticed). A lot’s been happening since I got back from Islay last month. Mainly I’m running a 16km obstacle race in December and, thus, have no time to indulge in alcoholic activities. Most of my time has been spent running around my neighbourhood or lifting heavy objects in the gym.

But enough about my fitness regimen. Let’s talk whisky.

Mention Macallan to my group of whisky friends and it causes a minor uproar. Raised voices, gnashing of teeth and foaming at the mouth are just some of the things that happen. And for good reason, mind you.

The last five years have not been kind to the brand thanks to some, in my opinion, heavily flawed product development strategies. Absurdly positioned expressions coupled with NAS on top of silly prices really upset the loyalists. This whole thing with colors (Sienna, Ruby, Gold, etc) was a disaster. After years of preaching that color meant nothing they went out and played right into the hands of the stereotype. Dark whisky is better whisky. Terrible.

Select Oak and Whisky Maker were totally lacklustre. Travel retail meant for the casual drinker with no idea of taste.

This was followed by the Rare Cask release. This is the one that really irked most of my friends.Rare Cask? Shut up already, they said. Pure marketing spin with good PR and a snazzy launch should not detract from the fact that it’s an average whisky begging for much of your hard earned money. I tend to agree.

And so I was without expectation when I poured out a stiff measure of their newest release.

A vatting of European & American sherry oak it’s aimed to sit right in between the Sherry Oak (one type of cask) and Fine Oak range (which used bourbon, European & American sherry). So two casks instead of one or three. This just might be interesting.

I did note there was an age statement on it. Twelve years it said. Not bad, I thought. At least it’s not a bloody NAS.

What’s that? It’s only 50GBP? How the hell did that happen? Why am I not being milked? Surely it must be absolutely terrible and Macallan have realised that. There can’t be any other explanation for that.

And at 40% I was expecting the worst.

Nose: Hmmmmmm. It’s not bad. Quite delicate if you ask me. Light sherry. I like the softness which I think is coming from the American Oak. Honey. Lots of it. But very light. But lots of it. Raisins soaked in the same honey. Sweet lemons. Like a limoncello. Hint of oak. Vanilla. Now some tropical fruits. Mangoes. Touch of while melon. There’s not a whole lot to complain about. So I won’t. 7.5

Palate: Very light bodied. Again extremely sweet. Thanks mainly to the honey. Clove. Lots of it. More than usual. Definitely the European Sherry casks. Oaky. Very juicy now. Granulated white sugar. Late arrival of tropical fruits. Mangoes. Papaya. Touch of melon. And, of course, vanilla. It’s not magnificent but I’m not gagging either. 7.4

Finish: Medium. But then grows in stature. Sweet. Vanilla. Drying. Fruits. 7.3

Overall Comments: Let’s start with the good. Age statement. Good. Price point. Good. Overall experience; satisfactory. This is as adequate a whisky as you can find. It does not demand much from you. And so it expects that you don’t demand much from it either. It’s not the huge disappointment that I was expecting. But then I have seen Macallan scale some mind-boggling heights and this is no where near that. If I was on holiday and I had a bottle of this I would drink it first thing in the morning. And then go find something to challenge my palate.

Overall Score: 7.4

The Macallan 12 Fine Oak

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Distillery/Brand: Macallan
Region: Highland
ABV: 40%
Colour: Pale Straw

Nose: 23
Taste: 24
Finish: 22
Balance: 23

Review
This is what every Highland single malt should taste like. Delicate and sensitive as well as bold and courageous.

Incidentally this is one of the first single malts I had ever bought and I think it was the reason I fell in love. Familiar aromas of honey, vanilla and hints of coconut remind me of why I got into malting in the first place. Robust barley lightly dusted with brown sugar and then rubbed on bright green pears makes this nose possibly one of my all time favorites to come out of the Highlands.

The velvet delivery is almost perfect as it starts off honeyed followed by black pepper and cinnamon. Swish it around your mouth and you can discern the deftest of dark chocolate and a drop of citrus.

The medium to long finish is dry and quite oaky – I think that’s where the Fine Oak comes into it’s own – with a touch of nuts and an eyebrow raising stick of clove.

I have to admit; this malt makes me happy.

Rating: 92

The Macallan 12 Sherry Oak

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Distillery/Brand: Macallan
Region: Highland
ABV: 40%
Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: 23
Taste: 23
Finish: 22
Balance: 23

Review
There was a time when I remember wanting to drink only Sherry influenced whiskies and this expression was the reason why.

The nose is pretty much in perfect harmony. Big, fat, juicy, red grapes covered in sugar, sprinkled with black pepper, dipped in caramel and then dusted with dark chocolate are presented to you on a silver platter. A final nose brings out the beautiful wooden sherried oak that makes this nose what it is.

Like most Macallan’s I’ve tasted the liquid is pure velvet. Burnt toast with black pepper and tiny cloves is the first thing to greet you. This is followed by the unmistakable taste of charred orange rind. Finally the palate is wrapped in a swirl of caramel, jaggery and a hint of roasted nuts.

The lovely long finish with it’s dry clove and nuts feels quite mature for it’s twelve years.

Pour your self a dram, sit back and relax. It’s going to be a long night.

Rating: 91