I have tasted this whisky before, but I confess it was a while back. In addition, I tasted it while comparing it to the 12yr Sherry Oak, and probably others as well. What I'm trying to say is that my initial tasting was probably not the best, as it was clouded with other whiskies and before I had developed my palate (not that my palate is now "developed", but it was even more immature than it is now).
I found a miniature of the 18yr at a local package store for $8, and figured it was high-time to try this whisky again. So, here goes the Macallan 18yr Sherry Oak, round two:
The color is a pretty dark gold, maybe an amber gold? This bottle is 43% ABV.
Nose: Straight away I am getting sherry, oak, currants, and dark chocolate. Hmmm... This is shaping up nicely. Let's see what else I find in there! A little orange peel. Cinnamon, and a touch of crystalized ginger. The nose is truly delightful.
Body: Medium body with a rich profile.
Palate: Nice, spice coming into play. Warming, sweet, candied orange peel, dark chocolate, ripe fruits, dried berries. Not really ripe red fruit, or peaches or plums, but a nice sweet apple or pear. This whisky is exceptional on the palate. I could really hold this in my mouth for the whole evening. If only I didn't have to talk to anyone...
Finish: Smooth! Wow, that just slipped over the tongue like it was water! Nice, short-ish finish, with a bit of spice and chocolate again on the end. Ok, more spice this time. Nice. Again with the dark chocolate! Some could almost call that a whiff of java or smoke, but it reminds me of the really dark (72% cacao) chocolate. There is a sweet taste left in the mouth. Not winy at all. Just a nice taste of candied oranges. Wow. Really nice.
Well, I must say - this is a nice dram. I am quite enjoying this afternoon nip! I am VERY happy that I was able to find a 1/2 bottle of this whisky, and even more glad that I was able to find it for only $49! I only pulled 2/3rds of the 50ml bottle out for this tasting, so I can try it again in a few days. The 1/2 bottle will probably stay put up for a while, and wait on a special occasion to be opened. Quite nice, and I am sad that I wasted the first bottle on my youthful palate! At the time, I found it quite boring and only mildly smoother than the 12yr. Silly me...
Frankly, I'm not sure if this is really all that better than the Aberlour 16yr Double Cask. It is quite similar, both with a very nice sherry flavor and plenty of spice at the end. This is dramatic, as the 16yr Aberlour costs less than $60/bottle, and Macallan 18yr goes for $140-160/bottle. I will have to do some more tasting to be sure, but I think I stand by my original assessment that this is a nice whisky, but not worth the price. Still, a very good dram, indeed!