With over 2,500 brands of Scotch Whiskey being produced by about 125 distilleries, things can get a might confusing when attempting to discuss Scotch Whiskey. And just to complicate matters further, there are 5 single malt regions in Scotland each with their own distinctive taste profiles; Speyside where Macallan is made, Lowlands, Highlands, Islay, Campbeltown, and the Islands. And to cap it off Scotch Whiskey is not just Scotch Whiskey it’s either Scotch Whiskey or Blended Scotch Whiskey or blended grain Scotch whiskey or Blended Malt Scotch Whiskey or finally Single Malt Scotch Whiskey and/or Single grain Scotch Whiskey. And just imagine, all that Scotch is being produced in a country the size of tiny little old South Carolina. I’m willing to bet that the only crop grown in Scotland is barley and 100% of that is used to make Scotch. I’m further willing to bet that every man, woman, and yes, even every child is employed in making Scotch. If there are any animals in Scotland, they must be there because they contribute in some way, shape or form in making Scotch. It just boggles the mind!
Obviously, if Scotch is your preferred tipple, then you might just have a very discerning palate accompanied by the detail oriented brain of a Mensa wizard. Now, it’s been said I have a discriminating palate and at times have been known to possess a sharp tongue, but I will certainly guarantee you I ain’t no Mensa wizard. So if you’re just now preparing to delve into the world of Scotch, I wish you luck and even envy you a bit as you are about to discover some palate pleasing pleasures. On the other hand, if you’re already a serious Scotch drinker ,then you know about and have undoubtedly experienced some out of this world wonders. And so without further ado, I am plunging into the tasting of The Macallan 12 year old single malt Scotch Whiskey.
At this point things become highly subjective or as the French are wont to say; “Chacun a son gout” or each to their own taste. The bottle is a bit oval rather than perfectly round and feels very nice and easy to hold. The label is a no nonsense affair that reflects heritage and dignity. The content is a twelve year old single malt Scotch whiskey matured in selected sherry oak casks from Jerez, Spain. The color is a translucent amber. The nose is a subtle mélange of caramel and butter with a hint of oak and, of course, a delicate nuance of Sherry. Its aromas are softly layered, interwoven, and if it’s at all possible, smell very smooth and laid back. It is light bodied, vaguely viscous and quite the surprise as I was really expecting something with a bit more body. Sherry, oak, and orange initiate the palate followed by smoky peat and dark wood and worn leather. Again it is much gentler than I thought it would be and very refreshing – yet also very distinct. I do believe the Sherry contributes much to its mellowness, sweetness, smoothness and overall finish. Speaking of which, the finish is medium in length but just long enough to let you enjoy the Sherry and oak and smoke and sweetness one last time and of course it is smooth right up the very end.
This is an excellent Scotch, but unlike a more traditional Scotch, it does not over power and it is not overly smoky or oaky. I do believe if you’re going to just discover the joys of Scotch this would be an excellent place to start. Depending on where you source this elixir it could run as high as $100.00 and as low as $60.00 so do check around, it’ll be worth your time.
By George Brozowski
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