Whisky Showdown! Macallan 12 vs. Macallan Select Oak

This edition of Whisky Showdown! has us exploring two different products from the same distiller.  An exciting tasting which should lead us to discover how the two different production methods compare and contrast.  The two products in question are Macallan 12 and Macallan Select Oak.

The Macallan 12 is a sherry oak product.  The oak used in making the casks that will age the whisky are from the north of Spain, specifically the forests of Galicia, Cantabria, and Asturias.  The wood is air dried in the north of Spain before being shipped south to be toasted in Jerez and turned into casks.  These casks are then used to produce dry oloroso sherry.  After 18 months aging sherry, the caks are emptied and sent to Macallan’s distillery for use in its whisky production.

The Select Oak is part of Macallan’s 1824 Collection and available only at travel retail sites.  This whisky is aged in three different cask types, Spanish sherry oak casks, American oak casks that held sherry, and American ex-bourbon oak casks.  I am not sure how long the aging process is for this whisky, though I expect it to be less than the 12 years of its challenger.

Both are similar in legs, having thick legs that run rather quickly.  The Macallan 12 is darker and richer in appearance than the Select Oak however, making it easy for me to distinguish them as I go through this tasting.

The nose on the Macallan 12 is full of sherry while the Select Oak brings out intense orange, cinnamon, spice, and vanilla.  Some other fruit is also apparent in the nose of the Select Oak.  The Macallan 12 also has some faint hints of orange, but it is more smokey and dry overall.

On the palate, the Macallan 12 is more sherry, smoke, oak, dried fruit, and hints of orange.  The Select Oak has cinnamon and spice, sugar, citrus, and dried fruit.

The Macallan 12 finishes smoky with wood and spice.  It’s dry overall, but has some faint hints of dried fruits.  It lingers for quite some time.  The Select Oak is sweeter and less long lasting, but not to say less satisfying.  The sweetness is very nice in itself and hugs the tongue as it works itself through its stages.

Overall, I’ll give the Macallan 12 the slight edge overall.  It is more complex overall and an interesting experience, but I like the sweetness of the Select Oak quite a bit.  Depending on my mood, my overall rating could change, but on this cold November evening I prefer to the Macallan 12’s smokey, oak filled tasting experience.  The Select Oak is harder to find of course since its distribution is limited, but I strongly recommend purchasing both.  The Macallan 12 should be purchased in New Hampshire if you happen to be going through as it is easily less than half the price than in Quebec and Ontario.  For my full review of the Macallan 12, click here and you can find my review of the Macallan Select Oak by clicking here.



2 comments on “Whisky Showdown! Macallan 12 vs. Macallan Select Oak

  1. rich young says:

    I think I prefer the select oak over the 12yr sherry. My whiskey guy was able to get a case here in the states and I really like it. Probably going to go back and purchase a third bottle before it disappears…

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