I was in a downtown Chicago whiskey bar several months ago, and a small table of attorneys ordered a round of Macallan 18 year-old whisky. One ordered it with soda, 1 neat, and 1 on ice. I was sitting by the bartender who kind of chuckled about the order. She asked me if I would put whisky like that on ice or drink it with soda. I told her I wouldn’t, of course. She told me people do that a lot with Macallan 18, and that most people who order Macallan 18 do so to make sure people know they’re ordering Macallan 18.
I have a bottle of Macallan 18 that someone gave me. I also have a bottle of Macallan 10 and 15 year old Fine Oaks, and now a bottle of Macallan 12 year old. Ardbeg is the only distillery I have more versions from. And the odd thing is that I would generally not order Macallan if I were out with friends. The Macallan 18 is too smooth (yeah, I said that). it’s sweet and easy to drink, and it’s really good, but I generally prefer something a little less tame, I guess. The Fine Oak versions are nicely done, and really good, too.
I think after the bartender’s response to the 18, and after I personally tried it with some other whiskies and it came in last in my ratings, I wasn’t expecting much from the 12 year old. But it was a gift, and I wanted to try it. I knew it wouldn’t be bad at all, but would I actually care for it?
I poured it the way I typically would any whisky, with just a couple drops of water. it’s not cask strength, so it didn’t need more than that, and I let it sit for a few minutes. I took a sip and was actually nicely surprised. It was sherried, sure, and a bit sweet, but very pleasant overall. It’s one I will keep around for when I want pleasant without worrying about the preciousness of the dram, or for friends that may not know if they like whisky. It’s a great intro whisky, better than the typical Glenlivet or Glenfiddich (my least favorite single malt, I think). It’s steeper in price, sure, but not greatly so.
I’m not going to rate my whiskies, at least for now. I’ll leave that to the experts. However, I will say this is a sweet, sherried whisky that has some body to it, and I’d definitely recommend it.