Macallan 18

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Successfully straddling two traditionally opposite realms, the Macallan 18 is a true achievement in the world of whisky. It has long been known as a fixture in the finest hotels and corporate suites, attaining a reputation as a true symbol of “having arrived.” Even those who do not possess a deep knowledge of scotch will almost automatically choose Johnnie Walker Blue or The Macallan 18 as a way to secure credibility with those who do.

On the other side of this coin is the fact that whenever a particular spirit gains this degree of popularity with the masses, aficionados and whisky snobs tend to abandon it as quickly as possible. The Macallan 18, however is a differentl story. Its reliably high quality and its well-loved cask aging has made this product a consistent winner even among the most exacting of critics.

Nose: The sherry influence is unmistakable, with bright fruit instantly apparent. Notes of strawberry jam, red raspberry, oaky caramel and melted butter are quickly detectable as well. The nose is silky in its combination of aged malt and sherry. Just a slight amount of water can bring a surprising youthfulness as well as fruit punch and candied apple flavors to life.

Macallan 18 Scotch

Palate: A touch of cherrywood is evident here in the aftermath of an oaky start. There is an immediately noticeable smoothness and a virtual absence of burn. The unctuousness is truly satisfying as are the fig, fruit preserve and chocolate flavors that accompany it. A touch of water will mask some of the brightness and dampen some of the otherwise unmistakable notes.

The Finish: Medium to long in duration, bringing with it hints of cocoa nibs, cranberry, tobacco and a distinguishable woodiness.

The Bottom Line: The nose is what makes The Macallan 18 something truly special. It represents the pinnacle of sherry maturation and then blends beautifully with the malt. A marvelous balance has been struck, never leaning to heavily in favor of fruit or wood. The craftsmanship is unmistakable, though not exactly surprising. For this legendary dram, added water is unnecessary and may actually detract from an otherwise gratifying experience.

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