One of the most widely reviewed whiskies on the web, The Macallan Twelve is distilled in Speyside followed by time spent in sherry casks — a feature Macallan whiskies are famous for. Established in 1824, The Macallan distillery was family owned for most of its history, but has recently come under the ownership of the Edrington Group. Through this time, they have created a reputation for creating highly sherried whiskies made solely in ex-sherry casks sourced from Jerez, Spain. While they did in 2004 expand their line to include the Fine Oak series, even these are aged for part of their life in sherry casks (the rest in bourbon casks). This review is of the 12 year old sherry oak offering.
Taking a mahogany color in the glass, this whisky hits the nose with a blast of sherry. Plenty of berries and other fruits abound, with an underlying tone of plums and orange peel. Close your eyes, and you might think you’re about to be sipping a glass of sherry. On the palate, the sherry notes continue, with plum becoming more dominant and fading to a nice leathery flavor. A hint of cream lingers on the palate. The finish is long, with toffee notes and a slight smokiness.
If it is all too much sherry for you, definitely try the Fine Oak series, which has downplayed the sherry effect through shared time in bourbon casks. While The Macallan is priced higher than its peers ($90 here in BC), it continues to fly off the shelf at my local liquor store — clearly someone likes their whiskies sherried. If you do too, definitely pick up a bottle for a classic sherried whisky experience.