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what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

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what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby bscepter » Sun May 26, 2013 1:45 am

there's something i don't like about either, and i can't put my finger (or nose) on it, but it's the same smell/flavor. i realize that they're from different regions, but there's just something "off"-smelling about both of them, both on the nose and the palate.

my vocabulary isn't advanced enough to pick it out, so i was wondering if there's something they have in common. i've heard in other reviews "sulphur notes" and "bitter beeswax." could that be it?

again, i'm a bit of a whisky n00b, but so far my favorites have included:

ardbeg 10
ardbeg uigeadail
laphroaig 10
laphroaig quarter cask
lagavulin 16
caol ila 12
glenmorangie 10
balvenie double wood 12
dalwhinnie 15

and i must say that i enjoy the kirkland/costco 18 yo speyside, whatever it is, though i find it a bit uncomplicated. but it does go down a treat and is a bargain at $33/bottle.

so, anyway - i'm not sure what it is i don't like about the macallan and HP 12's. and it's not like i hate them, there's just something that doesn't click with me.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby AdamMY » Sun May 26, 2013 2:14 am

Off the top of my mind I was thinking a non subtle Sherry influence. But I believe a few of the bottles you listed namely Balvinie double wood which should also have a strong sherry presence.

I will have to think about this one...
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby pkt77242 » Sun May 26, 2013 3:14 am

I would guess that it is a particular flavor of the sherry. Unfortunately it could be many different flavors causing it. Cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, figs, dates, etc. Can you help us by describing the offending taste by sweet, bitter, salty, etc? Any foods or spices of which this reminds you?
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby pkt77242 » Sun May 26, 2013 3:18 am

Macallan and HP are owned by the same company so they are probably getting their sherry casks from the same source thus causing you to have a problem with their sherried whiskies but not others.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby bscepter » Sun May 26, 2013 4:53 pm

pkt77242 wrote:Macallan and HP are owned by the same company so they are probably getting their sherry casks from the same source thus causing you to have a problem with their sherried whiskies but not others.


interesting! yes, i don't have a problem with the sherry-finished balvenie (though it's not my fave) and the sherry-finished kirkland is decent, too.

as for the flavor, for lack of a better word, i'd say it's slightly bitter with a bit of earthiness like a truffle. i dunno... as i said, i'm not so good with the tasting vocab. :headbang:
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby AdamMY » Mon May 27, 2013 1:43 am

Yes it sounds like a dark sherry. I do not remember a lot of dark sherry in HP 12 but some of it could be there, but there is definitely a lot of dark sherry in Mac 12. You'll quickly learn that the type of sherry used can cause things to taste drastically different. If it really is a dark sherry thing some bottles to also stay away from include:

All Glenfarclas
Most ( maybe all) Glendronach
All Dalmore
Basically any bottle whose color appears brown or darker, no matter the age, you should probably stick to gold or lighter colored whiskys. (Of course this does not apply to us whiskies).

Although I guess the good thing for you is Sherry casks tend to be very expensive especially the darker ones, so it might save you a bit in the pocket book, and there are not many distilleries/ whiskies to avoid as a lot of distilleries are using less and less sherry casks.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby bscepter » Mon May 27, 2013 3:07 pm

AdamMY wrote:Yes it sounds like a dark sherry. I do not remember a lot of dark sherry in HP 12 but some of it could be there, but there is definitely a lot of dark sherry in Mac 12. You'll quickly learn that the type of sherry used can cause things to taste drastically different. If it really is a dark sherry thing some bottles to also stay away from include:

All Glenfarclas
Most ( maybe all) Glendronach
All Dalmore
Basically any bottle whose color appears brown or darker, no matter the age, you should probably stick to gold or lighter colored whiskys. (Of course this does not apply to us whiskies).

Although I guess the good thing for you is Sherry casks tend to be very expensive especially the darker ones, so it might save you a bit in the pocket book, and there are not many distilleries/ whiskies to avoid as a lot of distilleries are using less and less sherry casks.


thanks for the advice. it certainly sounds plausible. if i had to choose my favorite "everyday" dram, it would probably be the ardbeg 10, which is certainly light in color.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby Ganga » Tue May 28, 2013 1:19 am

I have found that the flask style HP 12 is similar to Balvenie DW 12. Both being a sweet honey heather. The HP 12 features some whispy smoke too. However the round shoulder bottle is darker. Figgy/pruney, leathery. Macallan 12s can also feature this same sherry style although I find it to be more of a Xmas cider most occasions with some oranges, cinnamon highlights.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby The Third Dram » Tue May 28, 2013 1:35 am

Here's a thought... Momentarily dispense with the focus on the influence of Sherry wood, and instead focus on the European oak influence - i.e. the tannic aromatic and flavour components that European oak can contribute to whiskies matured in it. When you cite the "earthy" and "bitter" aspects in Highland Park (which utilizes both American and European oak ex-Sherry casks) and Macallan (which concentrates exclusively on European oak ex-Sherry casks for its Sherry-matured lineup) that seem to put you off, this is what springs to mind - at least for me.

The 'acid test' would be whether or not you like Aberlour a'bunadh.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby bscepter » Tue May 28, 2013 1:55 am

lots of very interesting responses here. i'm going to try the macallan again tonight and try to better apprehend what flavors i'm tasting/smelling.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby bscepter » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:14 pm

interestingly, i've gone back to the HP 12 recently and quite enjoyed it. as i sample more whiskies, i am finding that my enjoyment of them really depends upon the day. some days i'll go for a heavily peated ardbeg or laphroaig. others, a peppery talisker. still others a highland malt with a sherry finish.

i guess the bottom line is, it's all pretty damned good.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby Ganga » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:19 pm

I like that you went back and retried some of these things. Time and place will impact your enjoyment of whiskies. Warmer months, heavy sherry and heavy peat may not be the best.

Enjoy.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby danthepoetman » Sat Jul 13, 2013 12:18 am

Honey!! I agree with Ganga: heather honey!
I find that the stronger elements in the HP 12 are the peat, the malt, a very well integrated wood perfume and honey. This deep honey taste you can find it in the Macalan.
Then again, maybe the op is talking about something much more subtle. But like him, I don't think I have that great a palate, but rather that of a big dog drooling in front of a good thing to chew on...
:lol:
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby whiskgeek » Sat Aug 17, 2013 6:46 am

The Third Dram wrote:Here's a thought... Momentarily dispense with the focus on the influence of Sherry wood, and instead focus on the European oak influence - i.e. the tannic aromatic and flavour components that European oak can contribute to whiskies matured in it. When you cite the "earthy" and "bitter" aspects in Highland Park (which utilizes both American and European oak ex-Sherry casks) and Macallan (which concentrates exclusively on European oak ex-Sherry casks for its Sherry-matured lineup) that seem to put you off, this is what springs to mind - at least for me.

The 'acid test' would be whether or not you like Aberlour a'bunadh.


Another way to test this would be to try HP15. It has a higher proportion of American Oak.
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Re: what do HP 12 and Macallan 12 have in common?

Postby mzporto » Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:51 pm

bscepter wrote:there's something i don't like about either, and i can't put my finger (or nose) on it, but it's the same smell/flavor. i realize that they're from different regions, but there's just something "off"-smelling about both of them, both on the nose and the palate.

my vocabulary isn't advanced enough to pick it out, so i was wondering if there's something they have in common. i've heard in other reviews "sulphur notes" and "bitter beeswax." could that be it?

again, i'm a bit of a whisky n00b, but so far my favorites have included:

ardbeg 10
ardbeg uigeadail
laphroaig 10
laphroaig quarter cask
lagavulin 16
caol ila 12
glenmorangie 10
balvenie double wood 12
dalwhinnie 15

and i must say that i enjoy the kirkland/costco 18 yo speyside, whatever it is, though i find it a bit uncomplicated. but it does go down a treat and is a bargain at $33/bottle.

so, anyway - i'm not sure what it is i don't like about the macallan and HP 12's. and it's not like i hate them, there's just something that doesn't click with me.


Ha, I have like the exact same tase as you do. I know the taste that you dislike and it is present in many blends also, including Jhonny Walker, specially the green label. It is like sherry, but it is not quite that. It almost smells like varnish, am I right?

It is funny that I visited Macallan Distillery last year during a trip to Scotland, and I had the opportunity to taste the unaged spirit. The taste is there from day one. My only conclusion is that it comes from the destilation, and not the aging process. Actually, it is a taste that is present, at some level, in most of Speyside whiskies, and not in highlands or Islays.

I would recommend you to try whiskies such as Glenmorangie, Ben Nevis and AnCnoc. These are very sweet whiskies. Glenmorangies tend to be more complex than the other two, but are also generally more expensive.

I would NOT recommend you any Glenfarclas, and the only Glenfiddich would be 15YO.
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