[Review] The Macallan - 12 years old 40%

After the Edition 2 reviewed on the 22nd January, another Macallan today with the standard 12 years old, sherry matured. Well, when I say standard, I mean their entry point on the age statement sherry matured range. The age statement bottles of Macallan had disappeared for a few years to be replaced by NAS bottles, or the "stripper range" as a Dewars rep' called them, with names like Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby. These NAS received very mixed reviews but I could not really comment as I am yet to try any of them. I guess that, having realised their customers were enjoying their product as much as before, Macallan decided to reintroduce ages on their bottles, hence my 12 years old. It is certainly not the cheapest 12 years old out there at around £65 a bottle but then again, the Macallan name is one of the most prestigious and sought-after in the world of (wealthy) whisky enthusiasts.

So is the price tag justified? Macallan pride themselves in spending "more per cask than any other distillery in sourcing, crafting, seasoning and caring for [their] casks", as we learn from their website. The 12 years old is "exclusively mature in selected sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain" so no sherry finish here, it is the real deal. Reading through the Macallan website also reveals that all their whisky is natural colour. It therefore sounds like we are getting a very good product but then another name comes to mind: GlenDronach. With GlenDronach, you also get whisky fully matured in ex-sherry casks (oloroso and PX for the 12) with no added colour, no chill-filtration (which I presume is not the case with the Macallan) and bottled at 43% compared to 40%, for a much cheaper price. So I think it is now time to pour a dram and have a closer look at the Macallan! 


As I mentioned above, the 12 years old is bottled at 40% ABV, it is natural colour but probably chill-filtered. It has a lovely amber colour.

Nose: Rich, round and warming, a lot of sherry, dried fruit, raisin, dark fruit too, prunes, oakiness, brown sugar, golden syrup sponge cake, honey, hints of vanilla and some spice too. Wonderful!

Palate: Rich and sweet again, with some oak wood, spices, nuttiness, walnut, dark chocolate but also some acidity and bitterness. Would love to try it at a higher ABV...

Finish: Oloroso nuttiness, walnut again, dark fruit, oak and some bitterness too.

With water: Fro me, no more than 2 or 3 drops. I get a fresher nose with some nutmeg and orange notes, more ginger on the palate and still quite a dry nuttiness on the finish with orange zest notes.

I must admit, the Macallan 12 surprised me in a very positive way. I really enjoy how rich it is, how you get this mix of oak, nutty sherry, fruit and spices. It is a very good whisky. I have just had some of my GlenDronach 12 after it and I never thought I would have said that but I prefer the Macallan. Do not get me wrong, the GlenDronach is very good too, but different, you get more sweetness (probably rom its time in PX cask), less oak but I find it a little sharper too... The only problem with the Macallan, as I mentioned before, is the price. I managed to get mine on offer for around £45 and at that price I am happy to have it over the GlenDronach, but at £65, the GlenDronach is much better value for money! 

I have recently tried the 12 Double cask, which is even more expensive and not very nice in my mind and would be curious to try the 12 fine oak, even if, from what I have heard, it is not that impressive either. Macallan are renowned form their sherried whisky and I think if you want to purchase a bottle, I would stick with the sherry oak range, just be prepared to be paying above the odds for it!


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