Skip to Content

Black Label vs Macallan 12: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Macallan 12 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Whisky is better for You!

Johnnie Walker Black Label

  • Nose: Rich in vanilla, citrus zest, nectarine.
  • Palate: Smoky, roasted malt, caramel, vanilla and raisins.
  • Finish: Long, fruity, peppery, peat.

On the nose, there is vanilla off the gate, followed by orange zest, nectarine and a whiff of alcohol.

On the palate, body feels somewhat thin lacking in texture. The Black Label has a mildly sweet taste, with a flavor rich in peat. There are also hints of caramel and vanilla coming coming late to the party.

The finish has some peat, black pepper, salt, caramel and a bit of warmth but is not harsh.

Overall, the Johnnie Walker Black Label is a reliable whisky, striking a good balance of smoke and sweetness, with peat smoke and charred oak barrel smoke.

Quite smooth but with a warm finish that does not overwhelm. Nevertheless, on a lot of ice as it is commonly served it totally hits the spot.

The Black Label serves as an introductory bottle to smoky Scotch Whisky, those with a hint coming from the peats used to dry the malted barley.

If you are curious about Scotch smoky whisky this is a good starting point due to its affordable price before trying the peaty monster from Islay.

Overall, Black Label is one of the best age statement blends in the market in its current price range and a good choice for an “everyday Scotch”.

Learn how it compares to other releases from this brand by reading: Discover the Best Johnnie Walker Whisky!

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Black Label:

  • Bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).

  • Johnnie Walker is the best-selling whisky brand across the globe.

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 12 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 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 Double Cask serves as an introductory release to sherry cask matured Scotch before going for the sherry-bombs (Glenmorangie or 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 Macallan 12 as a mixer due to its price.

Learn how it compares to the Glenlivet 12!

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

  • Bottled at 86 proof (43% ABV).

  • Macallan was 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.

What’s the difference between the Black Label and the Macallan 12?

The Black Label is a blend and the Macallan a Single Malt

  • Macallan is a Speyside whisky. These whiskies are renowned for being fruity and have low to none smoke content and are commonly aged in sherry casks.
  • The Black Label is a blend of 40 whiskies of made from malts and grains, crafted at diverse distilleries across Scotland.
  • The Black Label has a noticeable smoky note.

Being a Single Malt does not make a whisky necessarily better. The Johnnie Walker Blue Label is a great whisky and it’s also a blend of several whiskies.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Johnnie Walker Black Label$40
Macallan 12 Double Cask$75

Johnnie Walker Black Label vs Macallan 12: Which is better?

Macallan is a fine sipping single malt whisky

WhiskeyBlack LabelMacallan 12
  • The Black Label is the baseline for most people who take whisky tasting seriously. This is a reliable whisky, striking a good balance of smoke and sweetness, with peat smoke and charred oak barrel smoke.

  • It’s also a versatile whisky as you can sip it neat, with a dash of water, ice or mixed in cocktails.

  • Macallan 12 belongs to a different category, this is a fine sipping whisky, fruity and sherried, with a noticeable oak note making a fine sipping Single Malt.

Glengoyne 12 vs Macallan 12: Which Whisky Wins?

Monday 12th of September 2022

[…] the Glengoyne and the Macallan are single malts whiskies made exclusively from malted barley at a single […]