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Aberlour 12 vs Macallan 12: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Aberlour 12 vs Macallan 12 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Aberlour 12 Double Cask

  • Nose: Raisins, baking spice, charred oak.
  • Nose: Caramel, spice, nutmeg, charred oak.
  • Finish: Chocolate, cinnamon, charred oak.

Nose is quite pleasing as it offers an aroma high in raisins, followed by baking spice and burnt oak.

On the palate, Aberlour provides a good mouthfeel as it has a creamy body. First sip hits with spice, but nothing extreme, as you keep drinking it caramel pops-up, along hints of nutmeg and more charred oak.

The finish has a decent length, with a hint of bitter chocolate and cinnamon, along charred oak which is present from start to finish.

Adding a drop or two of water releases more caramel, although it also brings more charred oak.

Overall, Aberlour 12 is a solid whisky, rich in burnt oak but not overpowering, rich and sweet, smooth and gentle on the throat, making a good combination of easy going and yet interesting.

Something that I particularly like about this malt is the bottle design, that it’s not only unique but quite classy.

Learn how it compares to the Balvenie 12!

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • Aged in a combination ex-bourbon barrels and ex-Oloroso sherry casks.

  • The distillery was founded in 1879 by James Fleming, his motto was ‘Let the deed show.’
  • The distillery is located in Aberlour, Strathspey at the confluence of the Lour Burn and River Spey near Ben Rinnes.
  • In 1975 Aberlour was acquired by Pernod Ricard, a French drinks giant who owns a wide range of spirits in every category including Chivas Regal.

Macallan 12 Double Cask

  • Nose: Sherry, dried fruit and mixed nuts.
  • Palate: Rich in spices, oak and a hint of chocolate.
  • Finish: Long and rich in oak.

The nose is sweet, rich in sherry, dried fruit and oak.

On the palate, the Macallan Double Cask kicks-off with a blast of oak, followed by bitter chocolate, sherry and a bit of citrus. There is just a bit of warmth yet from the pleasant type as it’s not burny.

The finish is long, with more oak to it, rich in dried fruit and a tad of spice.

The Macallan 12 Double Cask is rich in flavors, not too sweet, with a faint note of chocolate, a trace of spice, with a bit of warmth at the end and a noticeable oaky note making it a satisfying dram as it goes down nicely.

Overall, the Macallan 12 Double Cask serves as an introductory release to sherry cask matured Scotch before going for the sherry-bombs (Glenallachie, GlenDronach), although the deep oaky note can be harsh for some consumers.

Adding a splash of water will tune-down the oak and the warmth making it easier to drink. I would not use the Double Cask as a mixer due to its price.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Double Cask:

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).

  • Aged for 12 years using a combination of American and European oak casks seasoned with sherry wine from Spain.

  • Earned Double Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2017.

  • Gold Medal & 95 points rating from the International Review of Spirits Tasting in 2017.

  • The Macallan Distillery was founded in 1824 and is located in Craigellachie, Moray.

  • Macallan does not use caramel-coloring to make the whisky look more appealing, this practice is allowed under the set of rules that govern Scotch whisky but Macallan refrains from such questionable practice.

Aberlour vs Macallan: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Aberlour 12 Double Cask$61
Macallan Double Cask$66

Aberlour 12 vs Macallan 12: Which is better?

Both are quite similar with the Aberlour higher in charred oak

WhiskeyAberlour 12Macallan 12
  • These whiskies have many notes in common and yet I prefer the Aberlour 12 as the aging in bourbon barrels provided a charred oak note that I find more satisfying.

  • The Macallan is higher in oak and bottled at a higher proof providing more body to the whisky and yet does not feel warm.

  • Price is not an issue as they almost evenly priced.

  • Macallan provides more bragging rights, though, but the Aberlour looks kinda nicer in the cabinet making it a tough decision.

I’ve included both whiskies in my roundup of the best single malts which you should look into to consider further options.

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