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Macallan 12 vs Glenfiddich 12: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Macallan 12 vs Glenfiddich 12 in this in-depth comparison and decide which Single Malt is better for You!

Glenfiddich 12

NoseFloral, ripe fruit, honey
PalateFruity sweetness, pear, oak
FinishMedium, pear, oak
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toGlenrothes 12, Glenlivet 12

Glenfiddich 12 (Substitutes) has served at the introductory whisky to Single Malt Scotch to millions including me. I don’t drink it anymore as my taste has evolved greatly but I still remember it fondly.

On the nose, the Glenfiddich 12 offers a light aroma with a floral note, along fruity notes and honey.

On the palate, this malt has a decent body. Flavor offers fruity sweetness up-front, followed by a hint of pear and a tad of oak.

The finish has a decent length, with no warmth to it, with an aftertaste of pear and subtle oak.

If I was new to Scotch, this would be a friendly introduction; if you are an experienced aficionado you are going too find it too friendly, perhaps boring.

The Glenfiddich 12 is a clean and sweet whisky, nothing complex, nothing great but nothing off-putting, is just a smooth and mellow fruity dram.

No harshness and no traces of smoke make it the best option for newbies curious about single malt Scotch or liquors in general.

Glenfiddich 12 has been the entry-level bottle to the fantastic world of single malt whisky for many people including me and for a good reason: Glenfiddich is a solid, smooth and yet affordable single malt.

There are a few facts worth knowing about this whisky:

  • Aged using a combination of used American oak and European sherry oak casks.
  • Glenfiddich has been in business since Christmas Day 1887 when William Grant founded the distillery.
  • Glenfiddich is the best-selling single malt across the globe with 10 million liters produced annually.

Macallan 12 Double Cask

NoseSherry, dried fruit, oak
PalateOak, baking spice, chocolate
FinishLong, oak, baking spice
Alcohol content86 proof (43% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toGlenlivet 12, Glenrothes 12

The term Double Cask or double barrel describes the maturation of whisky in both sherry and American oak barrels.

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.

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 satisfying 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 overwhelming to those new to whisky.

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.

Learn how the Macallan compares to the Macallan 12 Sherry Oak!

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

  • Macallan is aged for 12 years using a combination of American and European oak casks seasoned with sherry wine from Spain.
  • Gold Medal & 95 points rating from the International Review of Spirits Tasting in 2017.
  • Macallan does not use caramel-coloring to make the whisky look more appealing, this practice is allowed under the set of rules that govern Scotch whisky but Macallan refrains from such questionable practice.
  • 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.

Glenfiddich 12 vs Macallan 12 Double Cask: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Macallan 12 Double Cask$80
Glenfiddich 12$52

Glenfiddich 12 vs Macallan 12 Double Cask: Which is better?

Macallan is a more satisfying whisky

WhiskeyGlenfiddich 12Macallan 12
  • Glenfiddich 12 is a “plain vanilla” whisky, extremely easy to sip, with no complicated notes making the better option for newbies who want to get baptized into Single Malt Scotch.
  • Macallan is more challenging, yet more satisfying. It’s more tasty, yet smooth, richer in oak, sherry and somewhat warmer making the better option for well-traveled aficionados.

Speyside Whiskies

Macallan and Glenfiddich are Speyside whiskies. These spirits are distilled in Strathspey, the area around the River Spey in Moray and Badenoch and Strathspey, in northeastern Scotland.

Speyside is home of other distillers such as Balvenie and Glenlivet among many others. Speyside whiskies are the most popular single malts in the world as they are smooth, easy to drink and have low levels of smoke.

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