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Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Oak

Not-So-New Vs. New - Part I

0 789

@talexanderReview by @talexander

27th Jul 2014

0

  • Nose
    21
  • Taste
    23
  • Finish
    22
  • Balance
    23
  • Overall
    89

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Distribution of ratings for this: brand user

I've been dying to do a side-by-side of the 12 Year Old and the Amber. And hey - now's as good a time as any!

My understanding is that the age statement Sherry Oak whiskies are being phased out (everywhere except in Asia, I think), to be replaced by the NAS 1824 Series bottles. So this 12 Year Old is nigh impossible to find in North America any more - apparently. If anyone wants to correct me on that, please feel free...

The colour is a deep, rich, coppery gold. On the nose, it's all sherry, sherry and more sherry, which (unlike the Gold) shows no trace of sulphur. It almost overwhelms the delicate barley sugar, but not quite. Medium dark chocolate, old leather, cinnamon and a basket of mixed fruit (dates, raisins, papaya and green apples). Water exposes the spirit a little more, but not by much. Exactly what you would expect - beautifully done but unsurprising.

The palate leans more toward the dates and raisins, with more spices (nutmeg, chili) and oak. Light chocolate notes, and obviously, tons of sherry. Silky, delicate mouthfeel. Water does a bit more to the palate than to the nose, upping the spice a bit. Straightforward, elegant and delicious.

The short-to-medium length finish has some cherrywood smoke, with gentler spices and a bit more oak. I do love this whisky but I can't score it above 90 (Mr. Murray gives it a 93, by the way) only because there is such a sensible straightforwardness to it, rather than more complexity. I'm not sure that is necessarily a bad thing - it's a fantastic malt, easy to drink and very satisfying. Maybe I'd score it higher if there was a bit more oomph to it, but who knows? If you can find it, grab it.

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7 comments

@Nozinan
Nozinan commented

How does it compare to the cask strength?

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

I'm glad you asked, as I last tasted the Cask Strength only a few weeks ago, with @paddockjudge. I prefer the Cask Strength, but where the CS has more power, complexity and a few surprises, the 12 Year Old has more elegance. I would consider the 12 Year Old more of a daily dram, and the CS a special treat. Of course, both are quickly vanishing, which is tragic.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

This is sort of eerie, watching these age statement whiskies disappear one after the other. Mac 12 Sherry Oak was such a standard for so many years that it is hard to believe it will not be available soon. I never bought a bottle of it until tonight because I didn't think that I would need to, because it would always be available. The same could be said for Elijah Craig 18, Macallan Cask Strength, Johnnie Walker Gold 18 yo, Johnnie Walker Green 15 yo, and other whiskies.

This is the down side of the Golden Age of Whisky. The good stuff disappears. Carpe diem.

5 years ago 0

@Frost
Frost commented

@talexander I enjoyed your back to back comparison tastings. Your review really does highlight the differences and loss for the whisky enthusiast the phasing out of these aged expressions over the NAS core range. Recently the NAS range is appearing on shelves here in Sydney and the aged range are not being restocked.

@Victor with many distilleries releasing a NAS expression to their core range, I'm sure the bean counters are paying attention to sales to see if they can replace aged expressions. I've noted that the new Laphroaig Select is more expensive than the 10 yr and the new Macallan entry level NAS range is more expensive than the Fine Oal 12 yr. They are flogging off younger stock at a higher price.

5 years ago 0

@Frost
Frost commented

Edit - "Fine Oak" not "Fine Oal"...

5 years ago 0

@talexander
talexander commented

@Victor, I have unopened bottles of Macallan 12yo Sherry, JW 18yo Gold and JW 15yo Green, down in the cellar. If they appreciate in value over time, I may sell them - or I may just drink them twenty years from now while waxing nostalgic. Probably I'll do the latter.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor commented

@talexander, I have bottles of all of those too. I bought them because I like to drink them. I certainly expect to drink them.

Comment on Jim Murray's "93" rating: he also said in that same review that he'd recently had some batches which disappointed him. I've seen a lot of variation in Macallan 12 Sherry Oak over the years. That is part of the reason why I've never before bought a bottle of it. Some batches/bottles have a great balance. Others show nothing but sherry. 'Nothing but sherry' works a lot better with Macallan Cask Strength than it does for Macallan 12 yo Sherry Oak.

5 years ago 0

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