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Glenrothes 12 vs Macallan 12: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Glenrothes 12 vs Macallan 12 in this head to head comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Glenrothes 12

glenrothes-12
NoseSherry, apple, vanilla, sulfur
PalateHazelnut, chocolate, honey, melon
FinishShort, oak spice, melon
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkNeat or add water
Similar toGlenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12

On the nose, the Glenrothes hits with sherry aroma at first, followed by baked apple and vanilla. There is light sulfuric note coming behind that is not terrible but unpleasant ruining what could have been a good start.

On the palate, this malt feels somewhat creamy providing a good mouthfeel. Flavor is mostly sweet, rich in honey, hazelnut and chocolate, along a melon note.

The finish is short, with more melon to it and a hit of oak spice bringing a bitter note.

Adding water releases caramel but does nothing for the finish that remains a bit bitter.

Glenrothes is a smooth and sweet whisky, completely drinkable, at a good price for a 12 year Single Malt, although the nose has a bad sulfuric note and the finish bitter spice making me consider further options.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Glenrothes 12:

  • Aged for 12 years entirely in sherry seasoned oak.

  • Graded as “95 points & Great Value” at the 2019 Ultimate Spirits Challenge.

  • Received “5 Stars & Highest Recommendation” by the F. Paul Pacult’s 2018 Spirit Journal.

Macallan 12 Double Cask

macallan-12-double-cask
NoseSherry, dried fruit and oak
PalateOak, baking spice, chocolate
FinishLong, oak, baking spice
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toGlenlivet 12, Glenfiddich 12

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 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 pleasing dram as it goes down nicely.

Overall, the Macallan 12 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.

If you want to consider further options read my post containing the Best Substitutes to Macallan!

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

  • 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.

What do Glenrothes and Macallan have in common?

Both are owned by the Edrington Group

Glenrothes and Macallan are owned by the Edrington Group along the Highland Park and the modest Famous Grouse which is Scotland’s best-selling whisky.

They are owned by the same parent company, but crafted at different distilleries making them different.

Glenrothes 12 vs Macallan 12: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Glenrothes 12$50
Macallan 12$56

Glenrothes 12 vs Macallan 12: Which is better?

The Macallan is a better rounded whisky

WhiskeyGlenrothes 12Macallan 12
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • The Glenrothes delivers a smooth and sweet taste, but fails on the nose and the finish making me prefer the Macallan which provides a better experience from start to finish.

  • Not the best for beginners as it’s a little high in oak, yet quite pleasant, smooth, with the right amount of warmth, making a solid Single Malt.

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