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Highland Park 18 vs Macallan 18: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Highland Park 18 vs Macallan 18 in this head to head comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Highland Park 18

highland-park-18
NoseSmoke, oak
PalateCitrus, cinnamon, chocolate, honey, smoke
FinishLong, oak spice, smoke
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toOban 18, Blue Label

Highland Park 18 was named as ‘Best Spirit in the World’ by F Paul Pacult of the Spirit Journal. Something I don’t agree with but you get the idea that we are talking about a damn good Scotch.

Smoke hits with smoke at first, giving way to a pleasant oak note.

On the palate, the Highland Park 18 feels somewhat thin lacking in body. Flavor has a high citrus note along cinnamon and chocolate, followed by honey and subtle smoke.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm, a bit dry, with some oak spice to it but nothing too severe, a gentle touch of smoke and a moderate bite to remind you that you are drinking whisky.

If you have tried the Highland Park 12 you are going to find many of those tasting notes in the 18 YO just that better in every way

Overall, the Highland Park 18 is a quite good moderately smoky single malt but perhaps a bit too dry, oaky and thin to be sublime.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the HP 18:

  • Aged for 18 years in using both European and American oak that are previously sent off to Spain to be seasoned with Oloroso Sherry. Oloroso is a dry and aromatic style of sweet and delicious sherry wine.

  • Highland Park is crafted at Scotland’s northernmost distillery in the Orkney Islands.

  • The Highland Park Distillery was founded in 1798 by Magnus Eunson, who was a church officer in the mornings and moonlighted as a illicit distiller and smuggler by night.

Macallan 18

macallan-18 double-cask
NoseDried fruit, nuts, orange, ginger
PalateSherry, honey, vanilla, oak
FinishMedium, oak, sherry
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toMacallan Rare Cask, Oban 18

Macallan is a Speyside whisky. This region in northeastern Scotland is renowned for its smooth and fruity whiskies typically aged in sherry casks.

The nose is beautiful, full of dried fruit, roasted nuts, orange and a tad of ginger.

On the palate, Macallan 18 offers a good mouthfeel as it has a good texture. Flavor is full of sherry and honey at first, followed by vanilla and pleasant oak.

The finish is moderately long, with oak to it and more sherry and just a pleasant warming note coming late to the party.

Macallan 18 is a super smooth and yet complex malt with lots of depth. Flavor is full of sherry product of the aging in sherry casks, but well balanced against oak and vanilla flavors.

It has a creamy body and a soft mouthfeel, with no harshness or alcohol burn making it incredibly easy to sip.

This is a whisky to drink neat as it does not have any off-putting note, such as peat, smoke, medicinal notes or any complicated flavor; this is just a smooth sherried Scotch that goes down nicely.

Overall, the Macallan 18 is a smooth and tasty malt rich in sherry notes and extremely smooth.

Is it good? Yes… is it worth the price? that’s a tough question as there are some 12 year sherried whiskies such as Glenallachie that go toe to toe with the Macallan 18 and cost a fraction.

If you absolutely want to buy a Macallan Single Malt for the bragging rights I suggest you look into the Macallan 15 which is just as good and doesn’t require you to put a mortgage on your home.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Macallan 18:

  • Aged for 18 years in both American and European sherry seasoned oak casks.
  • The Macallan Distillery was founded in 1824 and is located in Moray, Scotland.

Highland Park 18 vs Macallan 18: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Highland Park 18$175
Macallan 18$410

Highland Park 18 vs Macallan 18: Which is better?

Macallan is a smooth sherried whisky an horribly overpriced

WhiskeyMacallan 18Highland Park 18
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Macallan is a super smooth and sweet whisky with not one off-putting note, yet quite overpriced when there are several solid sherried whiskies at a fraction of the price.

  • Highland Park 18 is a bit more interesting as it has a subtle smokey note that does not overpower other flavors while providing good value for the money.

  • Not the best spirit in the world as Monsieur Pacult says but quite good nonetheless.

What do Highland Park and Macallan have in common?

There are two things that these brands share:

  • Neither Highland Park nor Macallan use caramel-coloring.
  • This practice is completely legit under the set of regulations that govern Scotch whisky but some purists frown-upon it.
  • Both belong to the Edrington Group along the Glenrothes and the Famous Grouse.

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