$$$ — 43% — 12 years
A classic sherry barrel Scotch, the Macallan is a product with a lot of funk and groove and complexity, without being overbearing. Like a very good holiday cake, you might be surprised how the breadth of strong flavors somehow stays in balance with itself.
The Macallan boasts using only 16% of their final distillation, meaning gallons of white spirit aren't barreled as unbecoming of the brand. The heads (beginnings) of the distillation contain oft-undesired sulfides but also many very strongly flavored and oft-desired aldehydes show up as well and by refusing to use them, the Macallan becomes much more mellow than many other Scotches. What does that mean?
Despite being a peated Scotch from the northeastern Speyside river valley, the maritime flavors are drastically cut back. Perhaps, underneath the heaps of smoke and spice and fruit flavors, it's still slightly detectable — but you'd never know unless you want looking for it. The smoke also is not allowed to dominate such as in a Laphroaig or Bruichladdich.
Instead of the sherry barrels 'adding' flavor as in a Glenmorangie, the Macallan uses them to enhance and coax out all the flavor in their already-fruity distillate. This along with using only a small portion of their distillate makes the Macallan a rather expensive bottle, but it remains a favorite among fans for its completely unique and slightly bizarre flavor. Rum fans, this is the Scotch for you.