Painful question. But if money WAS no object, i wouldn't hesitate to always have a bottle of Macallan 18 y.o. i've been gifted 4( in order): The 1984,'85' , '80, '86. the least satisfying was the '80 which was a bit dryer, and seemed to have a shorter finish...but still fine. The other 3 were excellent, especially the '85. I still have half a bottle of the (also delicious) '86 given me by my very generous Lucie last xmas. the only reason it's still half full is because i hardly dare drink such an expensive(for a reggae-blues musician!)dram...
The 18 year old Mac struck me, when first tried, as being the definitive version of the 10 year old I had already come to love as one of my very first whiskies, and a flavour i could probably have recognised blind even as a relative novice.
that's why, even as an Ardbeg/Laga 12/Lap QC loving peat freak,I love the "sherried" macallans at their best, and why I'm disturbed by stories of their scaling down their sherried lines for whatever reasons.
Like many who post here, i find the FO series to be "just another whisky"-I actually paid 'nuff cash for the 15 YO after Jim murray bigged it up big time, but my neighbour and I, who have similar tastes, found it...not bad, but ...bland. No way comparable to the Mac I was weened on just before the turn of the millenium...
I was also gifted a "tasting weekend" at turnberry by the same gal.(Well, she were a working lass then, but now we have an 18.month old she's a full-time mum...and income reliance on my geetar and voice limits the outgoings!)
...but macallan put on a wonderful weekend, and I tasted some absolute gems.
I had had a bottle of the HP 12 a long time ago, and I remember liking it. Looking for a cheaper alternative to my Macallan 18, and encouraged by the overwhelming preference for HP 18 that I've seen here, I decided to try it, since, at $59, it costs less than half of what Macallan 18 costs ($115) at my favorite shop.
I'm on my second day with HP 18, quite a few drams of it by now, and I must confess that, for my taste, there is no comparison. The Mac 18 is an all together more memorable drink that leaves a deep and lasting impression on my palate, and overwhelms my senses with intense flavors. I actually got to compare the two side by side, since I saved the last quarter bottle of my Mac 18 for that.
I find HP 18 rather lacking in depth. The flavor is pleasant, but sort of superficial compared to Macallan. I find it light and sweet, without much of a "kick".
Maybe this is the wrong comparison, maybe I don't know anything. I certainly don't know much about the technicalities of SMSW, all I know is that I've been exploring this liquor for a couple of years now, and I've had quite a few of all the popular ones already, full bottles of more than 15 different whiskys, and yet, I keep coming around to the same one.
I kind of envy you folks that have the ability to enjoy different whiskys on different occasions. It's fun to research and seek and discover, but I find that, given two different whiskys, I'll only care to drink whichever of the two I like best, and I can never like both the same. So as long as a favorite is around, I won't take more than a sip of something new. I guess I just want to be blown away every time, not just pleased.
By now I've narrowed this down to just a couple of malts. For sherry, my all time favorite: Macallan 18. For peat smoke, Lagavulin 16. And that's just about all I need in my cupboard.
It takes away the adventure of discovering new malts, I know, but every time I try that I end up thinking: "not bad, but I'd rather be drinking ... (one of my favorites) ... I wish I had spent the money on that instead".
I've also noticed the resentment held towards Macallan around here because of their pricing policies and other issues. All I can say about that is: I too hate the price, but love the liquor. And whether there are better malts at lower prices, well, that's definitely a matter of opinion. I just tried one of the most highly regarded 18 year old whiskys around here, and truth be told, if I could give it back and pay the difference to get a a bottle of Macallan 18 instead, I would in a second.
Let's all stop buying Macallan for a year, to see if we can make them lower their prices.
Oh God! NO, NO ... WE MIGHT PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS!!
I still have over a third of the Macallan 18 1986 given me last Christmas(!!)by my very generous better half...
I just daren't finish it! The 1985 was also brilliant, and the 1984...especially as it was almost half the price.
Yup. Macallan at its best IS the rolls royce of single malts...and sadly, similarly priced. At its worst, a functional Ford, as in:
"Fine Oak Rather Disappointing..."
I love to be driven in a Rolls, but frankly, I'd never own one.
So, any views on what the Ferrari of single malts might be??
I currently pay $39 for the 12 YO Sherry, and $115 (when I can) for the 18 YO Sherry at Warehouse Wines & Spirits at 735 Broadway (corner of Astor Place) in Manhattan, New York. This is (to my knowledge and after quite a bit of research) the place with the best prices in town.
Anybody think I can do better? Please share!
Reggaeblues wrote:Yup. Macallan at its best IS the rolls royce of single malts...
So, any views on what the Ferrari of single malts might be??
WARNING: Analogies should be driven in forward gear only. Attempts to operate them in reverse may result in severely strained metaphor.
It's fine to say "My love is like a red red rose," but essentially meaningless to then ask, "Which of your acquaintances is like a pink petunia?"
You may well feel that Macallan inhabits a similar place in the malt universe that Rolls Royce does in the world of automobiles. That does not mean that the automobile analogy will translate for every malt, or any malt. And as questionable a prospect as it may be to try to name a car for every malt, it is even more questionable to try to construct similes backwards by naming the cars unspecified malts may or may not be like.
Indeed, each malt will inspire its own analog. One may think that Macallan is the Rolls Royce of malts, Ardbeg the Picasso, Highland Park the Fender Stratocaster, Brora the Dick York, Glenmorangie the red red rose.
These musings have obviously been brought to you by Mr Picky.
It's too bad you don't like the HP 18 so much, but comparing it to Macallan 18 is a bit apples and oranges. I can assure you that most of us do not find the HP to be lacking in depth. You do seem to prefer malts with sledgehammer appeal, whether sherried or peaty, and I can sympathize somewhat; I don't have the most sophisticated palate, and seem to be as happy with impressionistic whiskies as with pointillistic ones, if you follow what I mean--I can't see all those little dots, anyway. I'd be curious to know what you think of some other sherry monsters in comparison to Mac 18--Mortlach, Aberlour a'bunadh, Macallan Cask Strength. If it's just the oomph you're after, a'bunadh might be your best value; whether you think it has the same depth as Macallan 18, or near to it, is the $64 million question.
I've always wanted to ask - Why is Macallan like a Rolls Royce? I don't see any connection, no more so now than when it first appeared in the Harrods book.
And which Macallan/Rolls Royce are we talking about now - the sherried or the (increasingly common) Fine Oak Mac, compared to the old or the new (BMW-owned?) RR?
MrTattieHeid wrote:Iain wrote:I've always wanted to ask - Why is Macallan like a Rolls Royce?
It costs too much and it is overrated.
I was thinking cost too much, deeply flawed, and overly reliant on a glorious past. This is my response after my last two bouts with the Mac 12; just awful. I admit to being one who likes the Fine Oak 15 very much, nice and malty, but not worth the price.
For some sherry and complexity, I very much like the Glenfarclas 21. Nice depth of peat to go with the sherry richness, and for less than the Mac18
I'd be curious to know what you think of some other sherry monsters in comparison to Mac 18--Mortlach, Aberlour a'bunadh, Macallan Cask Strength. If it's just the oomph you're after, a'bunadh might be your best value;
You are almost right about what I'm after. I like strong flavors, but not strong liquor.
I had a bottle of Mac Cask Strength that I got as a present, and I was only able to finish it by adding a considerable amount of water to each dram. It was so strong that it literally burnt my tongue! The burn prevented me from tasting any other flavors in the liquor, all I tasted was the alcohol.
Ever since that experience I made it a point to stay away from anything with more than 46% Abv. Hence, why I have never tried the a'bunadh, which I've noticed is very well liked among you, experienced folks. Many times I've stood in front of it at my liquor store thinking about it, but when I see the alcohol content, I say to myself: "better not..."
BTW, just to put in my vote: I don't think of Macallan as a Rolls Royce of anything. And if presentation is part of this claim - I hate the new bottle!. The old one had a lot more distinction. I loved the old fashion look of the old bottle and label, it suggested to me that the content was something of substance. The new bottle just seems blatantly pretentious.
I know that many other single malts are made with as much care and refinement as Macallan. I just like Mac so much better than the others that I'm willing to give those folks a big chunk of my little income every chance I get.
They got me, and HATE THEM FOR IT!!!
Any suggestions for getting a better price than $115/bottle for Mac 18-sherry?
Mail order, internet, hold up a store, anything?
Consider this--70cl of a'bunadh at almost 60% watered to 43% amounts to almost a litre of whisky at 43%. A bargain! You may feel you don't want to fiddle with all that, but a little experimentation and a good measure will make it easy. If I've done the math right, about a half measure of water for a measure of a'bunadh will do the trick, but of course you may find you like it stronger or weaker. Your choice!
As for getting a good price on Mac 18...good luck!
Consider this--70cl of a'bunadh at almost 60% watered to 43% amounts to almost a litre of whisky at 43%. A bargain!
That's clever, but what I remember of my Mac Cask Strength experience is that the water didn't make it good, it just made it drinkable.
I found out from a friend of mine, who has attended a couple, that there are a few free, or almost free SM tastings at several restaurants and bars in New York. I'm going to try to attend some of those to spare me the expense that comes with experimentation.
I'll be looking for that a'bunadh.
I get the idea re: analogies...I like it!
I happen to play a Fender stratocaster - it's my primary source of income and hence, SMSW.
It's also my favourite - though I love a Les Paul from time tp time. You are therefore right in synch with the widely known ( and held??) opinion of Michael Jackson( or was it JM?) who refers to HP as "the greatest all-rounder in the world pf malts. " This certainly applies to the Stratocaster in the world of guitarists . Just look who uses them!
but , to be picky TH, (also my initials btw) HP is not my favourite/regular dram...
...and Ardbeg is hardly the most universal malt!
So help me out over here!!
For starters, I have yet to enjoy the privilege of sampling a Brora...and as for Dick York, forgive my ignorance, but who the hell be he, and what does he drink when he's at home?
You got me thinking though. Much as I like the Stratocaster/HP analogy, for my own personal tastes( and Ardbeg not really working for the purposes of the analogy) maybe the Stratocaster is the Macallan of guitars...both are pretty universal, and in each case the best are marvellous, and the worst just terrible. the 80's vintage Strats were dogs, whereas mine, a '66, is amazing.
Fender Stratocaster '66:
Nose: Wood and smoke - betrays years of aging in smoky bars.
Palate: Rich, round and fruity, especially on the neck pickup. With the addition of a few drops of the bridge pickup, notes of great depth, and a little edge, are detected.
* Tasted Macallan 12 very early in my career at a friends house. Didn't like it, so I added water. Still didn't like it. Kinda had to choke it down.
* Based on huge scores from reviewers, bought a bottle of Macallan 12 thinking my buddy had left the bottle open or something. Same cheap taste. What was I thinking?
* Tried CS. At first it was nothing special, but opened up to be a great tasting malt. One of my favs.
* Brought my Macallan 12 to Vegas with my buddies and let them chug it.
* Celebrated a promotion with a bottle of 18yo. Heavenly! Is it even from the same distillery?
* Tried FO15. Tastes like the 12yo but less harsh. Drinkable.
* Tried FO17. Tastes like Aberlour a'bunadh. Decent.
Do they use the same cut for the 12yo as the 18yo? Is the 12yo the outsides of the cut or something?
I too love Mac CS...but the current standard ain't as ...complex(!) I find, as ,say, aberlour abunadh, or one or two Mac "specials" I've had the privilege of trying.
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