And now cometh the time of the King. One cannot deny the icon that is The Macallan 18. People who are relatively unfamiliar with The Macallan, people who do not even drink whisky will know this one. And unlike most whiskies that are embraced by the general public, this one is both respected and appreciated by the true connoisseurs, the ‘whisky elite’ if you will.
These are the people that have fallen in love with the art and painstaking craftsmanship required to produce high quality whisky. They cherish the variety of expressions available on the market, reserving a different type of whisky for a different type of moment in a different type of day. They sit at home acting as chemists as they try to find the perfect ratio of whisky to water in effort to maximize their tasting experience. They blog, take photographs and allow whisky to dominate conversation perhaps more often than it should. They understand that in many instances, the liquid in their glass spent decades evolving into what it is now and they don’t simply drink it with haste.
The ‘whisky elite’ rarely agree with the preferences of the social-drinking public. However, if there is one whisky that has the power to unite us all it is The Macallan Sherry Oak 18 Years Old. This bottle has found its way behind the desk of power attorneys and corporate CEO’s while also coveted by the average enthusiast who has managed to splurge on a bottle and take his/her time to savor every drop. It is desired and respected by virtually everyone.
So what makes this expression so special? Well for one, it is a beautiful continuation of everything we just experienced in the 12 Year. On the nose we are reintroduced to an orchestra of aromas that are once again unmistakably Macallan. A full Sherry impact with dark chocolate and burnt orange peel comes forward immediately. The cinnamon and clove spice is there as well and perhaps even more powerful in this expression.
On the palate we witness a somewhat linear continuation of everything we just detected on the nose. The dark fruit is present and the spice, that luscious cinnamon and clove works oh so well. Again, it’s similar to the 12 Year but the delivery of flavors is executed with much more refinement. Wow! The citrus flavors are now bursting to life in such a timeless fashion. It’s much richer, more luxurious if you will. Such a fantastic experience, this spirit.
We talked about some of the Fine Oak expressions being an excellent compliment to a conversation with friends or whatever it is you may be doing during the evening. At the end of the day, that’s really just a way of saying the Fine Oak collection is “OK”. This one is different. It’s a full whisky experience that demands undivided attention. Whenever I have a chance to sip this whisky, I just want it to be myself and the glass. Nothing else can stand in or way. Absolutely stunning.
We have tasted the Sherry Oak 25 and 30 Year expressions and while those are both exceptional, the 18 Year exists in a time and place just before diminishing returns to scale become a factor. It is a true stallion in its prime. It may not be as wise as its elders but it is nonetheless fit to be King.