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Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Oak

Purt'near Pretty Good

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@WhiskyBeeReview by @WhiskyBee

20th Apr 2014


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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Reviews of Macallan 12 yo Sherry Oak are all over the map, and so are my experiences with it. I’m either underwhelmed by its too-sharp tannins and younger-than-its-years booziness, or I’ve enjoyed its nicely rich sherry/malty/fruity sweetness. Maybe it depends on the neutrality of my palate. This is my first dram of the night after not having eaten in more than four hours, and it tastes especially good. Let’s capture it at its best.

(I often try to provide a bit of history and/or practical information in my reviews. But this is Macallan, or The Macallan if you prefer. One of those distilleries whose history goes back nearly as far as Gilgamesh. Let’s keep this of reasonable length, after all. And don’t get me started on their recent NAS bottlings. They have pretty colors; that’s all I’ll say.)

Review based on my third dram from a new bottle. I finished my previous bottle last week, and I don’t notice more than a negligible difference between the two. Bottle age doesn’t seem to be a factor with this one. Sampled with just a teeny drop of water.

Nose: Those sherry casks from Jerez, Spain were worth the investment. If you like sherry, this is textbook. There’s also loads of oak, maple, and vanilla, with a touch of raisins and bananas. A ten-minute rest allows some serious spearmint to emerge. Flowers and apples come and go. No complaints about this nose.

Palate: A slight letdown. Very neutral, watery arrival, although things improve as it develops. Sultanas, tannins, young oak wood, a little chocolate and cinnamon, and pancakes that could use another little drizzle of maple syrup. A 12-year-older that could use another two years. It’s fine…but that’s the best I can say for it.

Finish: A little short, but an excellent rebound nonetheless. Peppery spices, smoke, tobacco, all wrapped in chocolate, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Oh, for another 10 seconds.

A good whisky on the verge of excellence. Just a little more length and dimension would push things into the 90s. As it is, it’s a reliable cabinet staple that most of us know well.

Related Macallan reviews


Nozinan commented

Did the label say anything specific about the casks? I noticed no my Mac CS that the casks didn't technically mature sherry, they just were filled with Sherry for 2 years then used to mature the spirit.

9 years ago 0

WhiskyBee commented

@Nonzinan - Front and back labels say "Exclusively matured in select sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain for a minimum of 12 years." I believe the CS has been discontinued, no?

9 years ago 0

Jules commented

True, most Sherried scotches are from 'infused' casks or casks that were 'pre-filled', not actual ex-sherry casks, like in the good old days.

9 years ago 0

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