Macallan 12 year comparison and reviews (Sherry Cask, Fine Oak, & Double Cask)


Macallan 12 (Sherry Cask), 43% ABV, $55 USD

  • Nose: Very bold sherry, raisins, cranberries, subtle vanilla, and that unmistakable Macallan oakiness.
  • Taste: Heavy sherry, dates, raisins, chocolate fudge, very nice underlying spiciness, and a slight bitter ginger.
  • Finish: Medium-Long, well balanced, with those awesome Macallan oak tannins. Good mouth-feel and viscosity.
  • Thoughts: I absolutely love this expression! In my opinion it’s the benchmark for entry-level sherry drams. It’s big, bold, and an absolute pleasure to drink. Macallan talks about how much they value the importance of cask seasoning and preparation in their product, and it definitely shows here. This expression drinks above it’s age, and I have yet to try a better 12 year-old sherry. At $55 USD (Ive seen it as low as $45) this is an absolute must-buy when south of the boarder.
  • Score: 86.5 + 1.5 value point(s) = 88/100

Macallan 12 Fine Oak, 40% ABV, $1,100 Pesos (~$60USD)

  • Nose: Refined and mellow sherry, under-ripe pears, red apples, oranges, mild honey, slight vanilla, very nice soft oakiness, and an elegant malty note.
  • Taste: Light milk chocolate, raisins, pears, wood spice, and again that maltiness.
  • Finish: Medium-Long, very well balanced.
  • Thoughts: You get a great complexity with all three cask types (European Sherry, American Sherry, and American Bourbon) they all complement each other very well. The malt note I pickup is very pleasant. I found this bottle while in Mexico, I don’t believe it was released anywhere else in North America. A very nice Macallan!
  • Score: 84 + 0 value point(s) = 84/100

 Macallan 12 Double Cask (US release), 43% ABV ($65 USD)

  • Nose: Very mild sherry, orange peel, Macintosh apples, apple juice, gummy candy, and pie crust.
  • Taste: Classic Macallan sherry oak, raisins, honey, malt, and a very faint vanilla.
  • Finish: Medium, slightly drying, not overly complex.
  • Thoughts: I’m disappointed with this expression. I was expecting something in-between the previous two, but this leaves me wanting more. The combination of European and American sherry-seasoned casks lack the boldness of the 12-year Sherry, and the complexity of the Fine Oak.  It kind of reminds me of the Balvenie 12yr Double Wood, just got as good, and more expensive.
  • Score: 80 – 1 value point(s) = 79/100

Overall Thoughts:

I think it’s pretty clear where my preference lies. The 12 Sherry is a bottle I always have on hand and restock every chance I get. The Fine Oak is a nice change-up and is great to spend some time with (as I feel it’s the most complex of the three). Unfortunately, the Double Cask has let me down.

About my reviews:

I score spirits based on smell, taste, finish, balance, complexity, and value. After my initial score I will add or subtract points based on how I perceive value (based on what I paid for the bottle). A zero value means I think the price is justified.


0-69.5 – Don’t bother trying, life is too short for bad spirit.
70-79.5 – Worth trying, but you’re not missing out if you don’t.
80-84.5 – I recommend trying.
85-87.5 – Definitely try this!
88-92.5 – I recommend buying a bottle blind!
93-95.5 – Stuff you reserve for special pours!
96+ – The meaning of life.

4 thoughts on “Macallan 12 year comparison and reviews (Sherry Cask, Fine Oak, & Double Cask)

  1. Its been over 10 years since I’ve I had the Mac 12, so I’m ready to buy one. I did have the pleasure of buying and drinking the Mac 12 DC and was quite surprised. Overall, I thought it was better from start to finish and almost half the price of the Mac ED 2.


  2. I tried the 12 Double Cask at a friend’s place and it was badly tainted with sulphur. Blech ! No thank you. I realize that not all of them are sulphur tainted, but it’s not worth the $100 risk.


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