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Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Oak

Here's Hoping to Clone This Batch

7 890

@VictorReview by @Victor

11th Jan 2017


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

Macallan 12 yo Sherry Oak is matured exclusively in former Sherry casks. My thanks to @Maddie, who owns the reviewed bottle. The reviewed bottle is 60% full and has been open for at least one year

Nose: strong very fruity sherry with excellent sweet-dry balance. Sherry owns the malt, as expected, but very happily here. Score: 23/25

Taste: just perfect in the mouth, for sherried malt. There isn't much else to taste, but what do you expect from 100% sherry-oak matured malt? Yes, there is barley-malt, but the sherry owns it. This bottle rocks! Score: 23/25

Finish: stays much the same for a medium-long finish...lovely. Score: 22/25

Balance: very good in every respect. Score: 22.5/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 90.5 points


Strength: strong flavours, even at 43% ABV. Score: 22.5/25

Quality: splendid quality of the sherry flavours; the malt is fine too. Score: 23/25

Variety: enough...this is a sherry show; don't come here if that is not what you are looking for. Score: 20.5/25

Harmony: excellent harmony, of the wine flavours with each other and with the very back-seat malt. Score: 23/25

Total Non-Sequential Score: 89 points


Comment: OK, so why am I in my 440th Connosr review reviewing Macallan 12 Sherry Oak, for the very first time? Because this is far from my Macallan 12 Sherry Oak "first rodeo". I've had a few of them, and seen a good bit of variation among them. One had very noticeable wood influence. I liked that one a lot. One or two were just sherry without anything else, but with sherry not as tasty as this sherry. Those were my least favourite. What I want to express most here is this: Macallan 12 yo Sherry Oak has some significant batch variation, but I am very much hoping that my 3 unopened bottles of it taste exactly like this one which my sister owns! I can be very happy drinking this whisky and any which taste just like it, far into the future. This is the best Macallan 12 Sherry Oak which I have encountered

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Victor commented

N.B. 43% ABV is what I wrote down from the bottle label at my sister's house, despite my letting the 40% ABV get by me on the standard auto-complete form for a known whisky. I guess that this means that this bottle is from a release from some years ago.

5 years ago 0

casualtorture commented

I recently enjoyed a bottle of this a good bit. The flavor profile really changed for me over time. The first half of the bottle seemed to have more sherry. Second half had less sherry and more oak. I enjoyed the first half much more. But overall I liked this. Mine was a more recent 40% bottle though. The second bottle I had was shared among some friends and didn't last the night so I can't attest much to that one.

5 years ago 0

Pierre_W commented

I never had the opportunity to try Macallan's Sherry Oak 12yo at 43% ABV. But then I started to drink whisky only 6 years ago. The 43% ABV was gone by then, thus the bottle you reviewed, @Victor, might well be ten years old. I am really curious what this would taste at 43%. But even at 40% ABV this continues to be my favourite 12yo sherried expression out there. And it is not just how the sherry flavours have been integrated with the wood spice flavours, in my view you also cannot beat that silky mouthfeel. Priceless! Many thanks for another lovely review, @Victor.

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@Pierre_W, the mouthfeel from this bottle really was smooth and silky, and there was no sense of thinness in the body. When I tasted it I thought, "I've had some good Macallan 12 Sherry Oaks, but this is even better than I remember." The casks were also completely clean of sulphur, which is not something I can say of the bottle of 1991 Macallan 18 yo I had, or of some more recent Macallan special releases, e.g. Macallan Edition # 1.

My sister has a few old bottles hanging around her house, but most of them are not whisky. @Nock was floored, or, as he has been saying "haunted", when he had some Johnnie Walker Black Label over there that turned out to be the old 43.4% ABV stuff from about 1980, i.e. distillation dates in the late 1960s. So very very good, and so different from anything I've had from recent production. The wine element was big and very beautiful. Not something you associate with Black Label now, is it?

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

Nock commented

I believe that the different ABV is a USA thing and not an indication of the year. The same is true of Laphroaig 10yo by the way. I believe both are 40% in the UK and 43% in the USA.

The big test for age is the bottle shape. The newer bottle shape is taller while the older bottle shape is the “standard” scotch bottle (like Laphroaig but clear). I think they changed bottle design around 9-10 years ago.

@Victor, thanks for the review. Your sister’s collection is lovely. I would love to visit again. I am just amazed how many amazing bottles she has open at 90% full! How was that Johnnie Walker doing? I sincerely hope to get another taste before it is all gone . . . that bottle is haunting.

I also hope that your reserve bottles live up to this reviewed bottle. The variability of Macallan put me off some time ago. Macallan 10yo Cask Strength was one of my game-changer-whiskies around 2002. It began my love for cask strength whisky – big flavors whisky! Sadly, I quickly began to notice the variability predicted and called out by the late great Michael Jackson in his book because of Macallan’s change from Golden Promise Barley in 1994 to Optic and Chariot. So by the mid 2000’s I had more or less given up on Macallan. I have seen nothing since then to lead me to believe they have the interests of the consumer or of the product in mind. I am still amazed to see this 12yo sherry matured whisky on the shelf. Now there are plenty of No Age Statement Macallan’s up there with price tags well over $100. I don’t think so.

Because of your review (and the realization that age statements are dropping off labels almost monthly) I might just have to pick up a bottle of this 12yo for my bunker.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

Victor commented

@Nock, it was precisely because of the ongoing disappearance of age statements that I picked up a couple of bottles of Macallan 12 yo Sherry Oak about 2 1/2 years ago, and was gifted a third bottle shortly thereafter. Upon examination today, I see that all three are 43% ABV. So yes, it appears that you are exactly right that the ABV is a function of the market into which the whisky was sold. This makes me think that my sister's bottle may be recently acquired after all, and it makes me optimistic about the quality of my 3 unopened bottles! (I may even have bought that bottle for @Maddie for her at the same time from the same store as I bought two of my own.)

I am impressed and surprised that with the typical silly high prices for Macallan, we still see Macallan 12 yo Sherry Oak being sold here for about $ 60 including tax, on sale. I don't expect availability at this price to last long.

5 years ago 0

MaltActivist commented

Thanks for this review Gene. Like you I'm a huge fan of a good Sherry 12 (I know what you mean about the batch variations). Do you know what year your bottle is?

5 years ago 0

Victor commented

@MaltActivist, there was this reviewed bottle of my sister's, and five bottles I own from three purchases over 3 years. Between the different procurements and the faint and hard to find bottle markings (if any) I am totally unsure when any of these were bottled, other than in all liklihood in the last 5 years.

5 years ago 0

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