Macallan 12 Year has been a staple for decades, the go-to bottle when looking for a whisky gift that seems classy without going over the top. However it disappeared for a number of years from many markets as the distillery rolled out their NAS 1824 series. Those became exemplars of the era when distillers claimed with straight faces that 'age wasn't everything' while charging customers equal or greater prices.
But it seems like we're finally coming back around, with age dates returning or even increasing for some releases. The Sherry Oak Cask line has returned to its roots with an age statement and 100% sherry seasoned European oak casks, bottled at 43% with chill filtration but probably no coloring.
Macallan 12 Year Sherry Oak Cask
Nose: bright, rich sherry, dried fruit, nutty, vanilla, clean malt, moderate oak. After adding a few drops of water the sherry is less bright and the aromas are generally dampened down, with the exception of the malt becoming stronger.
Taste: sweet, thick sherry starting up front, turning more bittersweet with a little malt-y backing around the middle, slightly sharp oak tannins at the back. After dilution the sherry is more expansive and gains a pleasantly tart edge, and the oak is a little more rounded.
Finish: dry sherry, a little balsamic vinegar, dark oak tannins
Between this and the Double Cask, I think I prefer the latter. While this is more intensely sherried, the European oak gives it a sharpness that I find a little unpleasant. Overall, it just doesn't feel like a complete package, rather an attempt to make a fairly generic sherried whisky. I would personally prefer more refill sherry casks in the mix to let the spirit shine through, since that might help give it more of a malty roundness to balance the European oak tannins. As is, I would go for its American oak sibling or stick with other distillers making whiskies in this vein such as Glendronach or Glenfarclas.
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