A Speyside Distillery 12, 2008-2021, 48% – The Single Malts of Scotland

So, even though it’s not mentioned anywhere on the bottle, it’s pretty common knowledge that this is a Macallan. Or at least, that’s what everyone thinks and how it is marketed. Last year I went to pick up some stuff at Slijterij Vonk and there was an in-store tasting happening of some new bottlings, which made me linger a little bit. Of course, if I start lingering around booze, some of it is bound to come home with me. This one was the one.

It’s quite a rare thing to try Macallan nowadays. All of the good ones are insanely expensive, and most of the affordable ones are less than impressive. That was the situation when I last tried them.

The marketing vortex around the brand doesn’t help either. Spending decades educating that sherry casks and Golden Promise barley is the way to go, only to change gears and release triple cask stuff, from different strains of barley and from bourbon casks. The same with ‘age matters’ until they ran out of old stuff, and now virtually everything is a NAS bottling.

I don’t even mind people changing their view, but to aggressively market polar opposite viewpoints back-to-back is a bit of a stretch.

Image from Whiskybase

Anyway, a Macallan, with an age statement. Let’s see what happens!

Even though it smells like it was drawn from American Oak, there’s an old fashioned style going on. The rich and big sherry that is a thing with old Strathislas and Glen Grants. Of course, it doesn’t have the age those whiskies have, but the style is there. Dried peaches and apricots. There’s a walnut and pickle scent in the background too.

Because of the slightly elevated ABV there is a bit of a peppery bite to the first sip. It’s not overly sweet although it does bring some funky sherry notes, and some dried peaches and apricots. A drying palate, with a minor hint of vanilla towards the background. Mulch and forest floor, some compost even.

The finish continues down the same line, except it is a little bit more sweet than the palate was. Still it focuses on dried fruits, sherry and oak.

The walnut and pickle is a rather unique thing that I generally associate with Macallan, ever since an SMWS bottling (still in Dutch) from years ago. I wasn’t overly enthused by it back then, but have come to appreciate that weird sherry influence that Macallan sometimes has. In short, this is quite a lovely dram, especially for the € 60-ish it went for last year!



About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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