Macallan 12 year old Sherry Oak

Macallan Sherry Oak ReviewDistillery: Macallan
Region: Speyside/Highland
Age: 12 years old
abv: 40%

Obtaining a license to distil legally in 1824, the Macallan distillery is located in a beautiful manor house right on the banks of the river Spey. However, due to a set of regulatory changes in 2009, the Macallan is officially no longer a Speyside distillery and its bottles are now labelled as a Highland malt. Unburdened by legal wrangling, whisky experts nonetheless continue to consider Macallan as a Speyside malt. Being located only a mile away from Aberlour distillery, which is a Speyside whisky, this seems to make sense to me.

Either way, the Speyside/Highland debate is somewhat irrelevant, as Macallan stands out in whichever category you place it. It is praised by experts as one of the finest malts in production, and often sells for record prices at auctions. Macallan can even boast the likes of James Bond and Harvey Specter among its fans. Such marketing has paid off: Macallan is now the third best selling single malt in the world by volume. While I never ranked Macallan as one of my favourite whiskies, I recently tried the Macallan 12 years old Sherry Oak in a blind tasting and placed it head and shoulders above the other drams on offer that night.  Where other whiskies might receive an additional few months in sherry casks, Macallan 12 years old was matured exclusively in sherry casks, and it shows. This is an exquisitely smooth and luxurious dram, to be savoured in front of a hearth fire on a cold winter’s day.

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Old Pulteney Duncansby Head

Old Pulteney Duncansby Head 01Distillery: Old Pulteney
Region: Highland
Age: No age statement
abv: 46%

Named after a lighthouse near the distillery town of Wick, Duncansby Head forms part of Old Pulteney’s travel retail Lighthouse Collection. Like so many other travel retail expressions, this is a no age statement whisky. It has been matured in both bourbon and sherry casks and aims to combine the distillery’s maritime character with richer, fruitier flavours.

Old Pulteney is the northernmost distillery on the Scottish mainland and was established in 1826. At this time, the distillery was accessible only by sea. Coupled with a strong fishing tradition, Old Pulteney is proud to have retained some coastal influences in its whisky. Expect tangy, salty notes from this award winning distillery.

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Glenkinchie Distillers Edition

Glenkinchie Distiller's Edition ReviewDistillery: Glenkinchie
Region: Lowland
Age: Distilled in 2000, bottled in 2013
abv: 43%

Glenkinchie is one of only a handful of distilleries in the Lowlands. Situated just 15 miles from Edinburgh, it is a popular day trip for tourists wishing to visit a Scottish distillery. Part of Diageo’s Classic Malts range, Glenkinchie embodies the ‘typical’ Lowlands character of gentle, grassy whiskies. As with the other Classic Malts, Glenkinchie produces a Distillers Edition; a whisky that has received an extra maturation. For Glenkinchie, Amontillado sherry casks were chosen, giving the whisky a dry, fruity character. This version was distilled in 2000 and bottled in 2013, meaning it is likely a few months older than Glenkinchie’s standard expression.

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