A Peaty Opinion of Macallan Single Malts

I recently had a chance to sample a variety of world class single malt scotches, including a 30-year-old Macallan that sells for about $1200 for a 750ml bottle. (That’s around $50 per oz./30ml.) T’was one of the smoothest single malts I’ve ever tasted. The Macallan 15 I sampled ($130 per bottle) was full of caramel and sherry with a bit of a bite to it. The Macallan 18 ($300 per bottle), aged in sherry casks, not fine oak like the others, removed the bite and added some smoke and cream. The Macallan 21 ($350 per bottle) did more of the same but maltier. The Macallan 30 was nothing but smooth. However, the $1200 for the Macallan 30 might be better spent on ten or twelve bottles of equally exceptional whiskies than on a single bottle I’d be afraid to spill every time I opened it. The difference between the 18 and 30 is negligible. Here’s a review of the Macallan 10:

I’m a lover of the peaty single malt Scotch whiskies, namely the Islay single malts, but having the chance to sample the higher end non-Islay scotches almost converted me. Nearly all the whiskies 18 years and older were magnificent. No peat? No problem — because the depth and the complexity of the scotches did nothing but take me on a pleasure trip. I’m still not sold on Macallan, mainly because it doesn’t get great until about 18 years at $300 a bottle. Whereas the Lagavulin 16 (my go-to single malt) hits the same mark — and even higher for lovers of the peat — for less $100.

ADDENDUM: Sadly, Lagavulin 16 ain’t what it used to be.