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Macallan 18 vs Rare Cask: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Macallan 18 vs Macallan Rare Cask in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Macallan 18 Double Cask

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 toHighland Park 18, Glenlivet 18

The nose is incredibly pleasing, 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 tasty and smooth Single Malt rich in sherry notes and extremely smooth at a price point that demands you to put a mortgage on your home making me consider the Macallan 15 which is just as good and way for affordable.

  • Aged for 18 years in both American and European sherry seasoned oak casks.

Macallan Rare Cask

NoseOak, vanilla, raisins, citrus
PalateSherry, citrus, dried fruit, chocolate
FinishLong, chocolate, ripe fruit
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toJohnnie Walker Blue Label

The nose kicks-off with toasty oak, followed by vanilla, raisins and a touch of orange.

On the palate, the Rare Cask feels incredibly smooth and rich, full of sherry notes, orange, dried fruit and dark chocolate behind.

The finish is long, pleasantly warm, with rich chocolate notes to it, ripe fruit and a touch of toasted oak.

What makes this malt special is that only 1% of the casks at the Macallan Distillery are chosen by the Master Blender to be part of the Rare Cask.

Even though the Rare Cask has no age statement the whiskies in the blend have an age between 17 and 21 years.

The Rare Cask is one of the nicest malts I’ve had. Full of flavors, beautifully balanced with each hint in complement to the other, quite complex, very satisfying and immensely drinkable.

Personally, I’m not particularly fond of sherried whiskies as I’m more an Islay Whisky guy but this the best sherried whisky I have tried as the chocolate note is quite intense.

A bit pricey for a whisky with no age statement, though, but incredibly satisfying nonetheless.

Macallan 18 vs Rare Cask: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Macallan 18$410
Macallan Rare Cask$420

Macallan 18 vs Rare Cask: Which is better?

The Rare Cask is the best of its kind

WhiskyMacallan 18Rare Cask
  • The Macallan 18 is good but the Rare Cask is extraordinary, the best Macallan Scotch and one of the best whiskies I have had a chance to try despite not being particularly fond of sherried whisky.
  • The Rare Cask is an overly complex and flavorful dram yet incredibly smooth making perhaps the best of its kind.
  • The 18 YO is good but marginally better than its 15 year sibling and just marginally better than others sherried whiskies offered at a fraction of the price such as GlenDronach or Glenallachie.


Macallan is not the best-selling single malt Scotch as it comes distant third behind Glenlivet and Glenfiddich but is usually considered the best of the three.

One of the features that makes Macallan stand out from the aforementioned is that none of its releases uses caramel-coloring to look more appealing.

This practice is widespread and accepted by the United Kingdom Scotch Whisky Regulations but some old-schoolers like me fron-upon the idea of odd chemicals making whisky look pretty.

These whiskies were chill-filtered, though. There are also some aficionados that dislike chill-filtering as according to them this process removes some pleasant flavors from the spirit, but consumers are unable to detect the difference.

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