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Macallan 18 Review, Price, & Taste Test

The Macallan has once again dared to pursue something greater by boldly introducing the Macallan 18-year-old range. 

The Macallan Double Cask. The Macallan 18 Sherry Oak. The Macallan Triple Cask Matured.

The Macallan brand is rich with history and known for taking no shortcuts. They chose the difficult path to reach excellence and in doing so, added integrity to their process. 

The Macallan’s are all about pushing boundaries of what’s normal. So it would be of no surprise that the 18-year-old range is nothing short of exceptional quality.

Selling between $280 – $380 The Macallan 18 is priced higher than its competitors, but with good reason. The process that goes into making The Macallan whisky is unbelievably expensive so be that as it may, the saying “you get what you pay for” is about right on this one. 

While whisky may be very expensive, good quality would be really good at holding its value.

Macallan 18 (Brand Review) 

History

For centuries the farms in Speyside have been known for their rich fertile grounds. This is where it all started for local barley farmer Alexander Reid. He was granted a distilling license in 1824 and founded The Macallan Distillery in Speyside that very year.

When he died twenty-three years later, The Macallan Distillery was passed down from generation to generation. It was eventually acquired 149 years later by Highland Distillers, who then sold it to current owners, the Edrington Group in 1999.

The beautiful Macallan Estate in Speyside Scotland is a spectacular representation of nature and the human touch. It was a three-year-long project and is home to every bottle of Macallan 18 ever made.

The Macallan reputation is regarded as impeccable, predominantly because of their oak casks.

How it’s Made

Researched, manufactured, toasted, and hardened all under the watchful eye of The Macallan Master of Wood. The Whisky Mastery Team demands hand-picked casks to meet their expectations. 

The quality of the whisky is greatly dependent on the quality of the oak casks that it is matured in. It accounts for 80% of the final result for their style of single malt. 

Deep in the forests of Kentucky, Missouri, and Ohio is where you will find American oak trees grown, and then harvested at the age of 70. The wood produced from these trees is less porous due to the cooler, more humid conditions of these regions. 

Growing tall and straight they result in lighter notes. The lighter notes being that of citrus, vanilla, and coconut, but not limited to.

The European oak trees grow slowly amidst heavy rain and mild winters. Maturing at around 100 years they are known by the high number of tannins present. The tannins are up to five times more than that of the American Oak, creating notes of dried fruit, orange, and spice.

The Macallan works closely with companies in Spain identifying oak trees in the forest of northern Spain. After felling the wood it is sawed into quarters and cut into staves. This also helps lighten the load of the transportation of wood. The oak is then air-dried till they have 12-16 percent moisture before they ship them to the south. 

This air-drying process is important because it reduces the moisture in the wood. This process ensures that the oils naturally present do not negatively impact the whisky. In the South, the wood is air-dried once again for an approximate period of 12-18 months before it is transported to Scotland. 

The casks are impressively crafted on-site and the entire production of these casks can take up to five years to make. 

When fired up, the char is precise for a superb result, and as we know, the main contributor to the flavor of the Macallan 18 line.

The crafting of casks is an ancient tradition. This skilled and respected process goes without saying is certainly the most theatrical part of whisky-making. One cant help but admire The Macallan’s passion for craftsmanship. An exceptional amount of money is spent on attention to detail for their casks.

Inside the distillery, there are only 24 copper stills in total, of which each could hold approximately 3900 liters. The Macallan stills are known to be uniquely small, but purposely so. They are small for maximum contact with the heated copper, to provide opulent, intense flavors.

With spring water, yeast, and barley being the main ingredients for whisky, the sourcing of quality products was done in-depth for Macallan 18. 

One of the key ingredients they use is the Golden Promise barley which adds its oiliness and fullness. Although more expensive than a single variety of barley, it provides that charm to the Macallan 18.

Ranking high, Macallan 18 is believed to be a favorite of experienced drinkers. So no doubt that it would be enjoyed by those new to whisky. 

The Macallan’s commitment to extraordinary cask production from wood to end-result describes every characteristic of their whisky creation. 

With the Macallan 18 Double Cask, both the American and European Oloroso sherry seasoned oak casks are used.  This is what makes The Macallan 18 Double Cask the masterpiece it is. 

The two styles each contribute their uniqueness and together they produce a stunning combination of flavor.  In producing The Macallan 18 Double Cask, oak from America gets transported to Spain where casks are seasoned in sherry before it is sent to the distillery on Speyside to mature.

The whisky is then amalgamated with those matured in the European seasoned oak casks and together tells a story of two worlds united. The marriage is a spectacular collision of vanilla and subtle spice. 

Macallan 18 Sherry Oak is matured solely in the European Oloroso oak casks. The casks are sherry-seasoned and the fruity new spirit is transformed into a classic single malt. It is brought to life with spice, dried fruits, and mature oak that has a depth of flavor developed while maturing. 

Macallan 18 Sherry Oak is matured solely in the European Oloroso oak casks. The casks are sherry-seasoned and the fruity new spirit is transformed into a classic single malt. Alive with spice, dried fruits, and mature oak.

Macallan 18 Triple Cask Matured is smooth and gentle yet intricate. It is matured in American, European, and American ex-bourbon oak casks. Transitioning between young American oak and the more developed European oak, adding that character that is so typical to The Macallan. 

The trinity of the spirits in the Triple Cask Matured is matured separately and skillfully brought together when the time is right. Resulting in intense, fresh vibrant flavors.

Pros

  • Collector’s item
  • Premium product
  • Age statement
  • Trusted brand 
  • Trusted process

Cons 

  • Expensive
  • Long production process

Macallan 18 Whiskey Taste Test

When doing a whiskey tasting key factors to consider would be the appearance, how it smells, tastes, and what experience it leaves behind. 

With this particular review, we would expect all around as the Macallan brand is Royalty when it comes to whisky.

When poured into a glass, they may look similar at first glance, but each Macallan 18 has its unique color. 

Macallan prides themselves on the originality in their whisky color. 100% of the color is formed naturally from the wood in the oak casks that they are matured in. 

Being a natural product, all trees are unique and therefore transfer different flavors and colors to the blend during the maturation process. 

For this reason, the skills of the whisky masters are incredibly important. They need to ensure that the color of each bottle is consistent and they do this by strategic management and selection of casks that provide the range of the natural color. 

On the nose, we look at how each bottle differs, contributing to either a delicate aroma or perhaps one that is sharp and intense.

Each Macallan 18 year old brings their individuality and is lovely on the nose, with that unmistakable Macallan fruitiness.

The Palate refers to how well the single malt is made. The process involved in developing the taste for a new whiskey is so delicate. Everything from brewing, to distillation, to casks, to the aging process all contributes to the overall taste.

Time and casks are everything when it comes to creating the taste of the single malt Macallan 18. Smooth rich fruity flavors, a delicacy on the palate, are experienced with each bottle.

The Macallan 18 is very elegant. With ice for those new to whisky, without ice for the experienced drinkers. 

The finish refers to the impression left after the tasting. That being was the experience pleasant, or harsh, or have they left room for improvement. There appears to be a long finish with each bottle of Macallan 18-year-old. 

Macallan 18 Double Cask

The Macallan 18 Double Cask is Amber honey in color and it gives the aroma of toffee that comes to life with some ginger in there, clove, nutmeg, as well as some orange and dried fruit.

On the first sip, we are impressed. It is well balanced on the tongue and so soft. On the second sip, tastes of raisin and sultana and some caramel. Citrus is present, orange zest or blood orange juice is the taste. Also notes of vanilla and ginger spice in there. 

The Macallan 18 Double casks are aged in American sherry oak which adds vanilla to the spice of the European oak. Ultimately delivering a sweeter-tasting whisky. You get the spiciness of the oak, but not the bitterness.

It leaves heartfelt ginger and sweet orange.

Macallan 18 Double Cask range is where the two worlds of flavor come together creating an extraordinary single malt with a lingering taste.

Macallan 18 Sherry Oak

Macallan 18 Sherry Oak looks to be a light mahogany

It smells of ginger and dried fruit, with suggestions of cinnamon and some vanilla.

The flavor is delicate and opulent, with suggestions of spice. Citrus being orange and the taste of toasted mature oak is also found. 

Macallan 18 Sherry Oak leaves a lasting taste of ginger, orange, and fruit.

This single malt whisky has a robust flavor and displays a rich and full-bodied taste. The raisin and ginger combination embodies a moment, a quiet evening on the porch perhaps

Macallan 18 Triple Cask

The Macallan 18 Triple Cask Matured is a Light amber color. 

It combines flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon that bring warmth to my taste buds with a touch of vanilla and orange in the background. 

Macallan 18 Triple Cask Matured is enduring, lingers with chocolate, orange citrus, and smokiness.

Smells of dried petals with coconut take you to somewhere tropical with hints of vanilla and orange citrus in the air.

Conclusion

The Macallan 18 is an exceptional whisky range. This range brings uniqueness, personality, and confidence. It is a well-rounded and good well-balanced whisky.  

The effort and attention to detail that goes into delivering such a fine product is unbelievable. European, American, and American ex-bourbon oak casks are used in the creation of this line. 

Which of the three Macallan 18-year-old’s do we prefer? It will have to be between the Macallan Sherry Oak 18 and The Macallan Double Cask.

For me, it will have to be the Macallan 18 year Double Cask. This is certainly one of the finest Scotch Whisky Single Malts we have ever tasted. A drink to be enjoyed alone or shared at parties amongst loved ones and friends.

We will without a doubt recommend the impressive Scotch to fellow whisky drinkers!

What do you think?

Written by Macie Maislin

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