A TheMacallan Tasting

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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.

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