A TheMacallan Tasting


A little while ago I attended a TheMacallan tasting organised by a local alcohol group with TheMacallan’s Middle Eastern brand ambassador. Disclaimer before I even get started: I am not a fan of TheMacallan, I think their whisky is obscenely overpriced and that it has taken a hit in quality over the past few years with more emphasis being placed on the brand than on the whisky, just so you know I’ve got a little bit of a bias so please take what I say with a pinch of salt. That said I’ll always open to having my mind changed when it comes to whisky.

We tried the following whiskies:

  • Fine Oak 12
  • Sherry Oak 12
  • Fine Oak 18
  • Sherry Oak 18
  • Rare Cask

TheMacallan 12 Fine Oak

Aged 12 years. 40% ABV. No colourant added.

Nose: New make. Boiled sweets. Citrus oil. Toffee. New wood.

Palate: Sticky sweet. Cinnamon candies. Slight sulphur. Waxy citrus peel.

Finish: Short-medium. Rich sweet fruits. Toffee. Marzipan. Dried citrus.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No

VFM: 2/5

Really not a fan of this one. Tastes younger than 12 years, and very generic.

TheMacallan 12 Sherry Oak

Aged 12 years. 40% ABV. No-colourant added.

Nose: Very funky sherry. Red fruits. Sticky red sauce. Woodspice. Nutmeg.

Palate: Maple. Sticky sherry. Cinnamon. Citrus. Red grapefruit.

Finish: Medium. Cloves. Dried orange peel. Nutty wood.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 1/5

This one was a bit more complex than the fine oak, like there was actually something to be enjoyed here, but I found the sherry way too dominant and unbalanced for my tastes.

The Macallan 18 Fine Oak

Aged 18 years. 43% ABV. No-colourant added.

Nose: Light malt. Green herbs. Hay. Light wood. Toffee. Slight musty sherry. Icing sugar. Marshmallow.

Palate: Chewy red fruits. Toffee. Cinnamon flavouring. Malt. Oranges.

Finish: Medium. Woodspice. Maple syrup. Dry oak.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No

VFM: 1/5

Well this was a nasty surprise. I had a bottle of this about 4 or 5 years ago and I remember there being a distinctive sherry character to it which I quite liked but that was gone, like the 12 year old, this was very generic and really had nothing going for it over several other whiskies which go for a third of the price.

TheMacallan 18 Sherry Oak

Aged 18 years. 43% ABV. No-colourant added.

Nose: Spicy sherry. Slightly sulphury. Wintergreen. Menthol. Wood oils. Cedar. Stewed fruits. Prunes. Silan.

Palate: Silan. Prunes. Dry sherry. Cough syrup. Cedar wood. Nutty wood. Cinnamon bark. Nutmeg.

Finish: Medium. Cinnamon rolls. Nutmeg. Red liquorice.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 1/5

This is more like it. This had all the hallmarks of a really fantastic sherried dram and shows more of what this distillery has built its reputation on. It was complex, rich and balanced, really lovely stuff.

TheMacallan Rare Cask

Aged 3 years*. 43% ABV. No-colourant added.

*for lack of age statement

Nose: Red liquorice. Sweet, sticky raisins. Honey. Toffee. A little too much woodspice.

Palate: Sweet sherry, leads into dry. Marzipan. Cinnamon candy. Cloves. Cherry flavoring.

Finish: Medium. Drying. Stewed fruit. Red liquorice. Woodspice. Nutmeg.

Would I buy this: No

Would I order this in a bar: No

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: No

VFM: 1/5

Not a fan of this one. It comes in a very fancy bottle with a very fancy price but what’s inside it very odd, and not in a good way. I found it sickeningly sweet to my tastes and lacking anything else to it really.


Golan Heights Distillery 2015 Single Malt


I’ve had this bottle for a while now, but on account of Winter I’ve been at the smokey things in my cabinet a little more, and trying to put a dent in my very long backlog of samples, but I finally got round to it this weekend. Continue reading “Golan Heights Distillery 2015 Single Malt”

Glen Keith 1998 Gordon & Macphail Hopewell Buy-Rite Exclusive


Thanks to /u/unbreakablesausage from /r/Scotch on reddit for the sample

Glen Keith is a somewhat obscure distillery with quite a rocky history. It’s currently owned by Chivas Brother and is mainly used to beef up their blends, with independent bottlings floating around usually from a few specific distillation year, and some very hard to find original bottlings. This sample is an exclusive bottling from Gordon & Macphail for a specific shop that I got from /u/unbreakablesausage when we did a small in-person swap recently.

Continue reading “Glen Keith 1998 Gordon & Macphail Hopewell Buy-Rite Exclusive”

Clynelish 1995 Signatory Vintage

WhatsApp Image 2018-02-16 at 19.14.59Thanks to Yosi for the sample (and the image)

I sometimes regret how little love I give to Clynelish, for years my favourite distillery, still is I’ve just added several others to the list as well. This is one of many many bottles of mid to late 90’s distillate put out by Signatory as part of their Cask Strength Collection. It’s one of the independent bottling labels I really feel confident when trying as they’re almost always fantastic and when they’re not they’re still pretty damn good.

Continue reading “Clynelish 1995 Signatory Vintage”

Paul John 2011 Cadenhead


I’ve done quite a few reviews of Indian whisky before but they’ve all been from Amrut. There’s another Indian distillery that’s quite widely available called Paul John from Goa. I’ve tried some of their whiskies before but this is the first time I’ve been able to do so with notes. I’ve had this sample around for I don’t even no how long, trying to put a dent in my backlog.

Continue reading “Paul John 2011 Cadenhead”

Foursquare Triptych


So these rum reviews are starting to get more frequent. I’m slowly developing a sense of the various styles and flavours and what I like. Last week the Israeli Rum Club met up for a Foursquare evening. The bottles were all worth getting excited over, but one particular one I’d seen a lot of fanfare over was this Triptych stuff.

Continue reading “Foursquare Triptych”

Ledaig 2007 A.D. Rattray


Thanks to /u/nofansky for the sample

More Ledaig? Of course I’ll have more Ledaig. This was a sample /u/nofansky sent over with a bottle split we did over the Summer. Being Summer it was pushed to the back of my sample shelf but has slowly crept its way forward and the weather could not be more appropriate now.

Aged 9 years. 59.7% ABV. Matured in a bourbon hogshead. No colourant added, non-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength from a single cask.

Nose: Ash. Malt. Barley sugar. A bit new makey. Brine. Custard powder. Lychees. Limes. Chemical smoke, like lye in water. Slight sweet woody undertones.

Palate: Milk chocolate. Irish cream. Vegetal peat. Charred wood. Wet campfire. Bit of vanilla and salt going down.

Finish: Long. Very briney and quite creamy along with some herbal honey, ash and peat.

Would I buy this: Yes

Would I order this in a bar: Yes

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes

VFM: 3/5

This is a very apparently young whisky, with not a huge amount of complexity, but I can’t really fault it for that because it’s a Ledaig, and Ledaig can work really well like that, all that raw distillate character is there and in your face, yum.


Arran 1996 Alambic Calssique Rhum Finish


I feel like I’m seeing more and more rum cask matured whiskies around, which is great because rum is good, and whisky is good, and the combination of the right whisky with the right rum cask can be amazing. The problem I have is a lot of whiskies will just use something general like  “Caribbean Rum”, but rum is a hugely diverse spirit with so many different character profiles so it can get bloody annoying, because not every type of rum cask would work with let’s say a light Speyside whisky.

Continue reading “Arran 1996 Alambic Calssique Rhum Finish”