Macallan distillery has a deep history that roots back almost 200 years. The Macallan 18 is iconic, and the Bank of Scotland has even issued banknotes featuring the Macallan stills! (Quite the feat wouldn’t you say?)
It is thought of as a premium whiskey, directly competing with Johnnie Walker’s Blue(see also: Johnnie Walker Blue Vs Black)Label.
With such an astounding reputation, it is no surprise that it needs to be properly reviewed. People need to know about this whiskey, and we are here to tell you all about it.
The Macallan 18, however, is not just one whiskey alone. There is much more than just one bottle to look at here. So, let’s get started.
What Is Macallan?
The Macallan brand is very rich in history, and they are known for not taking shortcuts. They chose the hard road to reach excellence and in doing so, they added integrity into their process.
They are all about pushing the boundaries of normality. So it is no surprise that the 18-year is nothing short of incredible! The Macallan 18 is priced higher than its competitors, at an average of $280 and $380.
The process is the reason that it is so incredibly expensive. You pay for what you get, after all. It might be an expensive drink, but good quality is good at holding value, remember.
Taking A Look At The Macallan Brand
It is not just the Macallan 18-year that is astounding, the whole brand has a lot to be amazed by. So, let’s delve into the brand before we delve into the whiskey itself.
The History Behind The Brand
For many, many years, the farms in Speyside have been known for rich grounds. It was here that it all began with barley farmer Alexander Reid. He got his distilling license in 1824 and founded Macallan Distillery that year.
When he passed away, the distillery was passed down through the generations. It was eventually acquired 149 years later by the Highland Distillers, who then sold it to the Edrington Group in 1999, who still own it today.
The beautiful Estate is a spectacular representation of nature and humans in tandem. This was a three-year-long project that is now home to every bottle of Macallan 18 ever made!
How Is Macallan Whiskey Made?
This whiskey is not made like usual. The Whiskey mastery Team demands hand-picked casks meet their expectations.
The quality of the whiskey is dependent on the quality of the oak casks that it is matured in, as it accounts for 80% of the final result for their style of single malt.
In forests of Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio, are where you find American oak trees.
Harvested at the age of 70 these trees produce less porous wood. They result in lighter notes, bring citrus, coconut, and vanilla, and so on.
European oak trees grow in heavy rain and mild winters, maturing at 100 years.
They are known for a high presence of tannins, often up to five times stronger than that of American Oak, giving notes of dried fruit, orange, and spice.
Macallan works with companies in Spain to identify oak trees in the forests of Northern Spain. After felling, the wood is sawed into quarters and then cut into staves.
The oak will be air-dried until there is 12-16% moisture before they are shipped. This is very important, it ensures oils naturally present do not impact the whiskey.
Once the wood is air-dried, it gets air-dried again for about 12-18 months in the South of Spain before it is transported to Scotland.
Casks are crafted on-site, taking up to five years to make. When fired up, the char is precise and is the main contributor to the flavor of the Macallan 18 line.
Spring water, yeast, and barley are the main ingredients for whiskey, the sourcing of these is done in-depth, as you would expect of Macallan.
They use Golden Promise barley, which gives the oiliness and fullness. Although more expensive, it gives it that charm.
We could talk forever about the process, and how the oak has such a vital impact on the whiskey, but instead, let us tell you more about the end result – the one you are drinking.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
What does Macallan 18 have going for it? Well, it has a lot on its good side.
Not only is this whiskey a premium product, enough to rival Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label, but it is also a Collector’s item. It has an age statement too, which is often a very good sign.
The brand and the process are very trustworthy and are deeply loved by whiskey enthusiasts worldwide.
However, it is not all sunshine and rainbows, and while there is much good, the production process is long, making this a hard whiskey to get your hands on.
It is not very common, and since it takes so long to make if you were to pre-order, you might be waiting for a while, 18-years perhaps.
Not only that, but it is also very expensive as well. Rightly so, but it may not be in everyone’s budget to buy a bottle of scotch whiskey that costs more than their monthly utility bill.
Taste Testing Macallan 18
When we taste whiskey, we always have to consider the key factors; appearance, aroma, taste, and the feeling it leaves you with.
It is not so easy to tell you about this beverage, though, as each Macallan 18-year has its own uniqueness to it. So, for that reason, we will tell you about the different bottles and how they fare in a taste test.
Look at the appearance. Macallan prides itself on the uniqueness of its whiskey color. With it being a naturally formed color from the wood in the oak casks that they mature in.
As they are natural in the product, each tree is unique, and therefore, they transfer different colors and flavors to each blend during the maturation process.
You also want to look at the nose, and how each bottle has its own unique nose, they may contribute to a delicate aroma, or something more intense and sharp.
The palate is another consideration, noting how well the single malt is made. Everything from brewing to distillation is significant here. Time and casks are everything when it comes to the creation of the Macallan 18.
DO not forget the finish too, what you are left with when the sip is ended, what flavors linger in your mouth?
The Macallan 18 Double Cask
The Macallan 18 Double Cask is Amber honey in color, with a toffee aroma with ginger, clove, nutmeg, and orange and dried fruit in its wake.
Upon your first sip, you will find it to be well-balanced and soft on your tongue.
When you take your next sip you will get a hint of raisin, sultana’s, and perhaps even caramel. Citrus tones will also be present, with notes of ginger spice and vanilla.
Macallan 18 Double Casks are aged in American sherry oak, adding that vanilla tone to the spice of European oak. It delivers a sweet-tasting whiskey, providing you with the spiciness of oak, but not the bitterness.
The Macallan 18 Sherry Oak
The Macallan 18 Sherry Oak has a light mahogany appearance, looking deep and rich. Its aroma is that of ginger and dried fruit, suggesting cinnamon and vanilla also.
It has a delicate and opulent flavor that proposes spice. With hints of citrus such as orange and the taste of toasted mature oak mixed in.
It gives you that last taste of ginger, orange, and fruit on your tongue.
It has a robust flavor with a full-bodied taste, its unique flavor combinations suggest class and relaxation.
The Macallan 18 Triple Cask
The Triple Cask has a light-hued amber color to it. This variation combines the flavors of nutmeg, and cinnamon to bring an almost wintry warmth to your taste buds.
It adds a touch of vanilla and orange in the background that takes you to those winter evenings by a log fire.
The Macallan 18 Triple Cask Matured is enduring, it lingers with chocolate orange citrus and smokiness.
It provides the aroma of dried petals and coconut which take you to a tropical paradise, its hints of vanilla and citrus, soothe and refresh you.
This variation of Macallan 18, feels like a cozy winter by the fireplace, warming you and telling you ‘You’re Home’.
One last Swig
An exceptional whiskey range, no doubt. It brings uniqueness, personality, and natural collaboration. The use of very specially made casks makes this whiskey ever more astounding.
With so much attention to detail, it is not surprising that each bottle could set you back a couple of hundred dollars, but it is certainly worth it to taste the unique flavors that Macallan 18-year provides.
Which of these three speaks the most to you? Whatever one it is, be sure to add it to your beverage bucket list, and give it a try.