GlenDronach 12 vs Macallan 12

GlenDronach 12 vs Macallan 12 Whisky | Clash of The Sherry Titans From Highlands To Speyside

Step into the world of sherried whiskies as I compare GlenDronach 12 vs. Macallan 12. These two iconic expressions are known for their sherry cask influence, but as a whisky enthusiast, the Macallan 12 has a special place in my heart.  

It’s not that GlenDronach 12 is a bad whisky. Not by any means. On the contrary, it is meticulously crafted, showcasing the refined and approachable nature of a Highland single malt

But for a seasoned whisky enthusiast like myself, it left me yearning for more. I longed for those moments when a sip of whisky transports you to another realm, gripping your senses with layers of flavours and an unmistakable character.

This review was prompted after a friend recommended the GlenDronach 12 to me. With strong advocacy, they described it as a whisky that ventured beyond the traditional boundaries, a description that resonated with my curiosity. Intrigued, I managed to grab a bottle from my local spirits purveyor, determined to experience this for myself.

Finally acquiring the bottle, my initial sip revealed a smooth and velvety texture, coating my palate with a gentle warmth. The flavour profile was a pleasant combination of orchard fruits, cinnamon, and a hint of oak. It was undeniably enjoyable, offering a balanced and approachable experience. I could see why it would be an excellent choice for those new to the world of whisky, exploring its depths for the first time.

However, as a whisky enthusiast, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of disappointment. With peer-guided anticipation, the GlenDronach 12 lacked the boldness and complexity I anticipated. It didn’t possess the depth or intensity I’d encountered in other, more audacious drams. The sherried fruitiness was certainly there, but its sweetness almost seemed like an attempt to hide its shallowness.

For the benefit of this review (and my cravings) I wanted to compare the GlenDronach to another sherried alternative. With a strong reputation and promise of a good fruity dram, The Macallan 12 Sherry Oak seemed like the perfect candidate.

GlenDronach 12 vs Macallan 12 Sherry Oak Whisky: Quick look comparison 

Bottle of GlenDronach whisky
NoseCereals, dried fruit, spice & nuts.
PalateFruit, pastry, spice & pepper.
MouthfeelRich, buttery & full bodied .
FinishRich, buttery & full bodied .
Age12 years.
CasksPedro Ximenez & Oloroso sherry casks.
Strength86 Proof / 43% ABV
Price$58 / £45 (70cl)

GlenDronach 12 year old.
Bottle of Macallan 12 year old Sherry Cask whisky
NoseSultanas, apple, tropical fruit & syrup.
PalatePastries, marmalade, citrus, vanilla & fruit.
MouthfeelMedium bodied, delicate, smooth & rich.
FinishOaky, wood spiced & lengthy.
Age12 years.
CasksJerez sherry-seasoned oak casks.
Strength80 Proof / 40% ABV
Price$93 / £75(70cl)

Macallan 12 year old, Sherry Cask.
Close view of GlenDronach 12 whisky bottle label

GlenDronach Review 

GlenDronach 12 offers a unique and enjoyable drinking experience, showcasing its distinct set of flavours and characteristics. If you’re trying this whisky for the first time, you can expect a variety of flavours that lean super sweet, yet smoky.

On the nose, this whisky invites you into a world of romance and indulgence. As you lift the glass, it greets you with the aroma of rich cereals, struck matches, and caramelised sugar. The fragrance envelops your senses as if promising you more as you continue forward. You’ll notice a pronounced sweetness that entices the palate on taking your first sip. The flavours of cinnamon, ginger, red fruits, and autumn leaves unfold, creating a sensory experience that’s both comforting and intriguing.

On the palate, the GlenDronach 12 offers a sweet flavour profile, mingled with rich nuttiness and orange zest. But for me, it falls short of the promise it attempts to make. For a dram aged 12 years, it’s flavour is surprisingly thin and lacking in depth. In short, this whisky significantly lacks depth, which may disappoint those seeking a more multifaceted tasting. The initial allure of the nose may not fully translate into the complexity you may be hoping for.

The mouthfeel is full-bodied, though it may be considered weaker in terms of intensity. It finishes with notes of smoky toffee and nut brittle, along with spices and hints of dark chocolate and dark berries. These unique flavour notes represent the enriching subtleties of its Highland heritage, providing the GlenDronach 12 some individuality against its stronger counterpart, the Macallan 12 Sherry Oak.

Although it doesn’t stack up to bolder, more adventurous drams, the GlenDronach 12 is still a fit beginner whisky, especially for the price. It offers a worthwhile investment for those seeking something outside of the norm without breaking the bank. 

If you don’t mind a fairly simple drinking experience, GlenDronach 12 holds its ground within its price point, offering a delightful experience for enthusiasts who appreciate its unique flavour profile.

Close view of Macallan 12 year old Sherry Cask whisky bottle

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak

Macallan 12 Sherry Oak is a whisky that offers a remarkable and immersive experience from the moment you first encounter it. Similar to GlenDronach 12, it imbues the influence of the Oloroso casks, but this sherried Macallan takes it up a notch, delivering a punch of flavour and complexity that astonishes for a 12-year-old whisky.

The nose of The Macallan 12 Sherry Oak whisky is an intense and complex one. It opens with a vivid sweetness, with hints of sultanas, fresh apple blossom and sherried fruits. There are subtle floral notes at play, as well as notes of Calvados and tropical fruits. To compliment this sweetness, there is a layer of golden syrup that creates a unique balance to the aromas. Everything is perfectly interwoven and layered for something truly special.

On the palate, The Macallan 12 Sherry Oak offers a delightful evolution of flavours. The notes of hot pastries, marmalade, and citrus peels create a vivid and vibrant taste profile. As you explore further, the whisky reveals intense sweetness from barley sugar, vanilla, and sherried dried fruits, captivating the palate with depth and richness. This complexity is staggering for a 12-year-old expression, making Macallan 12 a standout choice among its peers, especially the GlenDronach 12.

The whisky’s lack of peat, not commonly found in Speyside distilleries, may be a downside for some who prefer a smokier element in their whiskies. However, if you’re looking to venture into new flavour territories, The Macallan 12 Sherry Oak provides a refreshing take on single malts. It does quite well at highlighting the skilful use of sherry-seasoned oak casks which have been made to the highest industry standards.

Mouthfeel: As the amber liquid pours into your glass, the rich colour itself speaks volumes for the incredible sensory journey awaiting you. The whisky gently glides across your tongue with its oily yet satisfying texture, revealing a complexity that unfolds gradually as you sip. The initial sweet and spiced notes from the sherry casks is balanced by a smoothness that persists throughout your drinking experience.

For its price point, Macallan 12 Sherry Oak sits at the higher end of the market. It is considered a premium whisky that offers investment-worthy quality. The depth of flavour, complexity, and overall experience it delivers justifies its price, making it a desirable choice for whisky enthusiasts seeking a remarkable and indulgent drinking experience. Considering it’s only priced slightly higher than the GlenDronach 12, I believe it is well worth the investment.

GlenDronach 12 and Macallan 12 year old whisky bottles side by side

GlenDronach 12 vs Macallan 12 Whisky: The Comparison 

When comparing GlenDronach 12 vs. Macallan 12 Sherry Oak, their distinct flavour profiles will more than likely be your main deciding factor. They can complement different uses and circumstances depending on your preference for longevity and complexity.

GlenDronach 12 boasts a super sweet profile. This sweetness and raw ginger spiciness make it a great candidate for fruitier whisky cocktails containing muddled cherry and pine garnishes. Here, its potent flavours can blend harmoniously with the other ingredients. Getting creative with your mixers may also compensate for the lack of depth in its flavour profile to some degree. Additionally, the sweetness of GlenDronach 12 can beautifully complement desserts such as apple pie or crème brûlée. Its alluring nose and comforting flavours make it an inviting choice for those seeking a whisky with a sweeter profile.

On the other hand, Macallan 12 Sherry Oak offers a bolder and more intricate experience. With notes of hot pastries, marmalade, citrus peels, and sherried dried fruits, it provides a journey of flavours that can elevate classic cocktails like a Manhattan or a Whisky Sour. Its depth and richness can also be an excellent companion to savoury dishes, particularly those with rich flavours or a touch of spice. Pairing Macallan 12 with a tender steak or a charcuterie board featuring cured meats and aged cheeses can enhance the whisky’s sophistication and create a delightful culinary experience.

In terms of taste, Macallan 12 Sherry Oak stands out with its bolder and more complex flavour profile, making it suitable for a wider range of uses and pairings. Its depth of flavour can lend itself well to both classic and modern whisky cocktails, as well as a variety of food pairings.

Ultimately, the choice between GlenDronach 12 and Macallan 12 Sherry Oak comes down to personal preference. But, I found the GlenDronach to be a bit underwhelming. Those who appreciate a sweeter and more to-the-point profile may lean towards GlenDronach 12, especially when mixing cocktails or indulging in dessert pairings. Meanwhile, individuals seeking to savour a bolder and more elaborate whisky with versatility for both cocktails and food pairings may find Macallan 12 Sherry Oak to be a captivating choice. If you are curious about how the Macallan 12 stacks up against another highland whisky check out Dalwhinnie 15 vs Macallan 12.

Bottle of Macallan Sherry Oak 12 year old whisky beside its packaging box

GlenDronach 12 vs Macallan 12 Whisky: Final Thoughts 

GlenDronach 12 and Macallan 12 Sherry Oak both offer unique experiences for whisky aficionados to explore. GlenDronach 12 presents a sweet and spicy flavour profile with notes of cinnamon, ginger, and red fruits. It provides a pleasant aroma, making it a good choice for those seeking a shorter but pleasant dram at a reasonable price point.

In contrast, Macallan 12 Sherry Oak delivers a bolder and more immersive experience. With flavours of hot pastries, marmalade, citrus peels, and sherried dried fruits, it offers you an enriching journey for your palate. Despite its higher price point, it provides a captivating and indulgent experience, especially for those who appreciate a spicier profile and seek a whisky with depth and intrigue.

So, if you’re looking for a short but sweet dram with a great aroma that’s not too heavy on the price, GlenDronach 12 is a solid choice. Its sweet and fiery profile makes it a grand option for casual sipping.

However, if you’re searching for something with more depth and complexity, Macallan 12 is the way to go. Its complex flavours, smooth mouthfeel, and versatility for cocktails and food pairings make it a captivating choice for those who want to indulge in a more intense sensory journey.

Author’s pick 

 GlenDronach 12Macallan 12 Sherry Oak

Based on the scores provided, Macallan 12 Sherry Oak emerges as the winner with a total score of 27, compared to GlenDronach 12 which scored 23. Let’s delve into the specific categories and what contributed to the victory of Macallan 12.

In colour, The Macallan 12 Sherry Oak received a higher score of 7/10. Its rich amber hue was particularly appealing. The deep pigment adds to the visual allure and anticipation of the whisky-drinking experience, something Macallan strongly pride themselves on. (The colour is entirely natural, coming only from their exquisite casks.)

On the nose, GlenDronach 12 obtained a higher score of 8/10, since it possessed a more enticing and captivating aroma. The aromas of cinnamon, ginger, and red fruits likely contributed to the higher score and created a strong olfactory impression. Later in the glass however, the flavours did not live up to this very appealing fragrance.

For mouthfeel, both whiskies received moderate scores. Macallan 12 Sherry Oak scored 5/10, indicating a satisfactory, but not exceptional, mouthfeel. However, the whisky did provide a smooth and full-bodied texture, which contributed to the overall enjoyment of the drink.

In terms of taste, I gave Macallan 12 Sherry Oak a higher score of 6/10 because it possesses a more favourable flavour experience. It boasts a complex and well-balanced combination of flavours, with notes of hot pastries, citrus peels, and sherried dried fruits. Compared to the GlenDronach, it offers significantly more depth for the experienced whisky lover to savour and explore.

On the finish, both whiskies received similar scores, with Macallan 12 scoring a slightly higher 5/10. The finish of Macallan 12 Sherry Oak was satisfactory but not particularly memorable or lingering. It did outperform the GlenDronach 12 by 2 points since it lingers more impactfully on the tongue. Unfortunately, the aftertaste can be a bit off-putting after some time.

Based on these scores, Macallan 12 Sherry Oak is the preferred choice. Its rich colour, complex palate, and overall flavour experience contribute to its victory. The whisky’s enticing aroma, satisfying mouthfeel, and well-balanced taste come together to create a captivating and immersive drinking experience.

While GlenDronach 12 offers its own unique qualities, Macallan 12 shines through with its bolder and more enjoyable flavour profile. It’s a solid choice for a beginner and for whisky buffs looking to broaden their horizons with something non-traditional.

Quick disclosure: We include links to products we think are useful for our readers. If you click and buy a product through one of the affiliate links on this page, we may earn a small commission.

Similar Posts