DakotaDan23 wrote:Is there a recommended 'straight' Sherry that's decent so I can familiarize myself with that particular flavor, and start working to separate out the others? I ask because apparently the Mac 12 is a 'Sherry bomb', and I'd like to know the difference in Sherry vs. the actual whiskey.
There's many an excellent Sherry out there. However, given that most whisky producers who utilize Sherry wood opt for either Oloroso or Pedro Ximenez casks, I'd suggest you begin by focusing on these two.
Gonzalez Byass makes some lovely Sherry of both sorts. I'd strongly recommend you bite the bullet, pay the not insubstantial price, and purchase GB's exclusive bottlings that have been matured for over three decades. The 'Noe' Pedro Ximenez edition will definitely take you aback, as it's as texturally rich as syrup and combines lovely coffee notes with a considerable (get ready to make an appointment with your dentist!) sweetness. A small pour will be enough to satiate your taste buds. But don't worry about not being able to plow your way through the bottle, because this Sherry is also great over vanilla ice cream. And you can also add it (just a minute drop, mind you) to any ex-Bourbon barrel matured whiskies you have on hand to instantly transform them into 'Sherry bombs'.
Lycus, the Macallan 12YO does indeed come in both 40%ABV and 43%ABV versions depending on markets and availability.