Macallan 18. As revered and maligned as the monarchy. Weighing in on this one is a somewhat tricky affair that relies on suspending preconceptions and allowing the senses to decide.
The contentious point with Macallan is always price. Sherry casks are, of course, much more expensive than bourbon casks, but still many question whether what they get in their glass with Macallan is worth so much more than, say Glenfarclas or GlenDronach.
I have my own opinions here, somewhat tempered from what they initially were, but I’ll keep those cards close to my chest and again…allow the drink to work its charm on the nose and palate, bias aside (as much as anyone can).
In all honesty though, this is as near to faultless on the nose as you can get. Beautifully rich and elegant. The sherry is vibrant and warm, chewy and very, very soft. A little bit of chocolate and grape meet fresh cherry and orange. There’s a dusting of nutmeg and wood spice over creamy toffee. A hint of heather. This is a malt to savour over refined vices, like good old novels and great cigars.
The palate brings the mildest of dried fruit flavors, but mouthwatering sweetness as well. Sweet caramel and warm melted chocolate follow, bringing notes of quality oak. The finish lasts none too long, but boasts a beautiful top note and denouement. Exceptional.
It took me a while to fully come ’round to this one, but I’m won over. Great dram from the royalty of Scotch whisky.
An older edition I’ve tried (1981) is even better than this.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Curt