OK brain and palate, what you are now about to experience is a whisky. A Macallan. Forget about sherry, this is something else and must be judged as such.
Right, here we go .....Macallan Fine Oak, 18y, 43%
Pale yellow, but not as pale as Dallas Dhu, Rosebank or some others.Nose:
Really quite pleasant
there's definitely wood and some malt in there. Not a hint of sherry. After a while I am now getting a hint of dry leafiness too.Palate:
Smooth but not so creamy. An initial flurry of wood and something I can't quite identify, but it is something slightly floral or herb-based. This is also quite fresh. The finish on this one is longer than the 12y sherry, even the tingle tingles on a while.Overall Impression:
Not a bad dram, but far from a great. Let's say it's good, but not unforgettable.
I am still trying not to refer to body and sherry, but if someone gave me this blind and said it was an 18y, then I may be quite disappointed. Somehow, I expect a little more from an 18y 'premium' dram. Not sherry, but just ...... more.
In the way the Talisker 18y is far and away superior to the 10y. That same gulf is not apparent between the Mac 12 and 18.The inevitable comparison:
OK, so I held off as long as I could. These are two different whiskies and they always will be. Macallan has built a reputation based upon their first-fill sherry policy and that is what they are good at. This 18y is not a bad whisky, but if this had been their initial direction, I doubt they would have achieved the same success as they did with the traditional sherry bottlings. This would just have been another 'good' whisky, as are so many others .... Balvenie, Dalwhinnie, Glenmorangie ... but it wouldn't have stood head and shoulders above the rest.