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Macallan 12 Double Cask vs Macallan 15 Double Cask: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Macallan 12 Double Cask vs Macallan 15 Double Cask in this in-depth comparison and decide which SIngle Malt is better for You!

Macallan 12 Double Cask

macallan-12-double-cask
  • Nose: Sherry, dried fruit, mixed nuts
  • Palate: Baking spice, oak, chocolate
  • Finish: Oak, dried fruit, oak spice
  • Alcohol content: 86 proof (43% ABV)
  • How to drink: Add water
  • Similar to: Lagavulin 16, Highland Park 12

Taste:

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

On the palate, the 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.

Is it good?

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, 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.

Double Cask facts:

  • 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.

Macallan 15 Double Cask

macallan-15-double-cask
  • Nose: Cinnamon, apple, raisins, oak
  • Palate: Oak, caramel, dark chocolate, hazelnut
  • Finish: Tobacco, chocolate, cinnamon
  • Alcohol content: 86 proof (43% ABV)
  • How to drink: Add water
  • Similar: Macallan 18

Taste:

The nose is rich in baking spice at first followed by hints of apple, raisins and subtle oak.

On the palate the first taste comes a bit peppery but it settles nicely as you let it develop in the glass.

Macallan 15 offers rich caramel taste with a delicious dark chocolate hint and toasted oak. 

Pleasant warmth hits on the back of the throat and is easy and smooth going down.

Finish is toasty, long, and quite tasty with note of chocolate.

Is is good?

This is an excellent single malt, smooth and satisfying. If you feel some warmth add a drop of water and that will release more caramel and oak making it even easier to sip

Overall, the Macallan 15 is good single malt, with deep tasting notes, at the right level of sweetness and nicely balanced.

If you have tried the Macallan 12 Double Cask you are going to find this to be an improvement as it’s not as oaky and feels more complex and layered.

Macallan 15 facts:

  • Aged for 15 years in a combination of American and European oak casks seasoned with sherry wine from Spain.
  • Macallan does not use caramel-coloring to make the whisky look nicer, this practice is allowed under the set of rules that govern Scotch whisky but Macallan refrains from such questionable practice.
  • The Macallan Distillery was founded in 1824 and is located in Moray, Scotland.
  • Macallan is a Speyside Whisky, the most densely populated Whisky region in the world. Speyside whiskies are known for being low in peat and full of fruit and are commonly matured in Sherry casks.
  • The brand belongs to the Edrington Group who also owns Highland Park, Glenrothes and the modest Famous Grouse, the best-selling Scotch in Scotland since 1980.

What does Double Cask mean?

Double Cask means that two types of barrels were used to age the whisky.

In this particular case a combination of American and European oak casks seasoned with sherry wine from Spain was used to age these whiskies.

The long time spent in the barrel provided the whiskies with the sweet notes this type of wine has a long a darker amber hue.

Macallan 12 vs Macallan 15: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskyPrice
Macallan 12 Double Cask$68
Macallan 15 Double Cask$175

Macallan 12 vs Macallan 15: Which is better?

The 15 YO is an upgrade

The Macallan 15 is an improvement over the 12 YO as it tastes more complex and layered and more subtle on the oak providing a better experience.

But is it better enough to justify the huge price gap? I best most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two as most don’t have a developed sense of taste.

This is particularly true at a time in which our sense of taste has been dumbed-down with so many artificial foods,

Unless you are in the 1% that can tell the difference you will bet better served with the 12 YO and better yet with the Macallan 12 Sherry Oak which more provides clearer differences in flavor and color.

If you absolutely want to add a 15 YO to your arsenal look into the GlenDronach 15 Revival.

Macallan

Macallan is a Speyside whisky distilled in Strathspey in northeastern Scotland. Speyside is home of other distillers such as Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Glenlivet among many others.

Speyside whiskies are the most popular single malts in the world as they are smoother, easier to drink and have low levels of smoke.

Macallan comes third in sales of single malts behind Glenfiddich and Glenlivet but is renowned for being the best.

The company has some tricks of the trade that make them unique such as:

  • Selecting barley low in nitrogen and rich in starch, resulting in a creamy whisky.
  • Using the smallest copper-pot stills in Scotland to distill. These stills remove sulfur better whilst producing a heavy oily flavor. The result is a whisky with a creamy texture.

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