Todays whisky showdown pits Macallan’s popular 12 year old product vs. Clynelish’s Distiller’s Edition, which is aged 14 years according to the date indicators on the bottle. The Macallan is a favorite across the world and the lesser known Clynelish distillery produces a limited range of products but deserves some attention in my opinion. My original review of the Macallan 12 is here and you can follow the link here for my full review of the Clynelish.
Without further ado, let’s see how these two stack up.
There are few whiskies as satisfying to the eye as the Macallan. It’s a rich colour and stands out next to the lighter amber hue of the Clynelish. Given a twirl of the glass, the Macallan’s legs run down thick but relatively quickly compared to the slow running legs of the Clynelish.
The nose on the Macallan is more oak and sherry than anything the Clynelish offers. The latter yields soft notes of orange and chocolate, mixing in a bit of spice. The Macallan shares one characteristic with the Clynelish as it too gives off some orange, albeit much more subtly. Both are absent of any hint of peat.
The palate of the Macallan brings sherry, oak, some smoke, and light notes of fruit. The palate of the Clynelish is all about orange and milk chocolate with cream. There’s some fruitiness in there, but I wouldn’t call it sweet on its own. However it is sweeter than the Macallan 12, which seems almost dry in comparison.
The finish on both is long and rewarding. The Macallan goes into a display of wood and smoke to differentiate from the Cynelish. The Cynelish stays mellow at this stage with fruits and nuts wrapping up the experience.
Overall, the Macallan is a more complex product despite the 2 years difference in age. I’ll give a nod to the Macallan on this one, the Cynelish being more suitable for easy drinking and those with a preference for sweeter single malts. The Clynelish is also an excellent product for initiation into the world of whiskies with its softer profile.