The Macallan 12

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$$$ — 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.

The Macallan is located in Craigellachie, Moray in northeastern Scotland. Estabilshed in 1824 by Alexander Reid, it is now owned by the Edrington Group.

Flavor Notes

Peat, Clove, Caramel, Vanilla, Plum, Tannin, Grape, Olive

Peat, Clove, Caramel, Vanilla, Plum, Tannin, GrapeOlive