Macallan vs Glenfiddich

Macallan vs Glenfiddich | Which Speyside is best?

If you were to ask anyone in Scotland about the most prestigious distilleries, they would undoubtedly say Macallan and Glenfiddich. These iconic brands have a long-standing tradition of producing exceptional single malt whisky that is recognised worldwide for its delicate flavour profiles and deep connection with Scottish history. Indeed, these two renowned companies are widely acknowledged as being among the best scotch makers on earth!

These two distillers are pioneering figures in the Scottish whisky industry, having established their lineages over one hundred years ago. It isn’t a reach to say that they were among those instrumental in making Scotland into the renowned whisky powerhouse it is today. Notably, Speyside produces more whisky than any other region in Scotland; its celebrated products have been enjoyed worldwide for centuries!

Speyside Scotches are renowned for having a fruity and flavourful taste, as opposed to the peaty earthiness of some other varieties. Yet, when you start discovering whiskies from this area closer, you will appreciate their unique distinctions.

Many people enjoy their fine products when they want a dram of the finest single malt Scotch. 

But these scotches stand completely on their own. Speyside has quite the diverse range of scotches in the many distilleries throughout the region.

Taking a closer look at some key differences between Macallan vs Glenfiddich can help you choose the best single malt scotch for your palette—and to see which one reigns supreme.

While Macallan tends to be bolder and smokier, the bright fruitiness of Glenfiddich is also quite pleasant to experience.

I’m going to break down this article comparing the top three expressions from these distilleries: 12 year, 15 year and 18 year. Hopefully this will help you decipher which one is for you in the battle of Macallan vs Glenfiddich.

Macallan vs Glenfiddich: Category winners

In order to best provide you with all the information to make a decision on which is best for you. We have broken it two into three categories: the 12 year olds, 15 year olds and the 18 year olds.

Macallan vs Glenfiddich: The 12 year olds

Winner: Glenfiddich 12

Macallan vs Glenfiddich: The 15 year olds

Winner: Macallan 15

Macallan vs Glenfiddich: The 18 year olds

Winner: Glenfiddich 18

Overall winner:

Glenfiddich Winners

Glenfiddich distillery in our view is the winner.

Macallan vs Glenfiddich 12 year old: Quick read comparison

Macallan 12 Double Cask Whisky Bottle
Macallan 12, Double Cask

Macallan 12 (Double Cask)

Nose: Classic dried fruit territory, if less intense than the Sherry Oak expression. Aromatic butterscotch too.

Palate: Enjoy the delightful combination of creamy, honeyed flavours and thick-cut marmalade with a subtle hint of cinnamon all nestled in warm pastries.

Mouthfeel: Indulgent, velvety, smooth sensation on your taste buds.

Finish: Succulent, aromatic notes of vanilla and sultana tantalise your taste buds with each sip.

Age: 12 years

Cask/Barrels: American and European Sherry oak

Strength: 80 proof / 40% ABV

Price: £68.95 / $82.90

Glenfiddich 12 whisky bottle
Glenfiddich 12

Glenfiddich 12

Nose: The subtle floral and mineral notes of grain create a captivating aroma, while the spirituousness complements orchard fruits, maltiness, and honey. As it opens up in your glass, refreshing citrus nuances appear as well.

Palate: An impeccably smooth blend of light florals and spices, this combination is truly an olfactory experience.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is delightfully supple and creamy, like butter.

Finish: An aroma of sweet oak and fruity notes lingers, with an unmistakable oiliness.

Age: 12 years

Cask/Barrels: American and European Oak casks

Strength: 80 proof / 40% ABV

Price: £36 / £43

Macallan vs Glenfiddich: The 12 year old review

Flavour comparison:

Macallan 12 (Double Cask) is renowned for its flavourful honeyed notes and warm pastry aromas, laced with subtle hints of cinnamon. Its delightful combination of creamy, indulgent texture, velvety mouthfeel and sultana-like finish bring out Macallan’s unique character and make it a distinctive choice among Speyside whiskies.

It’s contrasted beautifully with a sharp almost dry taste of marmalade. This unique blend of fruitiness and acidity is balanced with complex notes of wood and spice, making it a multi-dimensional whisky experience. The palate is left with an unmistakable oiliness as the fruity finish lingers on the tongue.

The Macallan 12 (Double Cask) has an impressive following in the Speyside whisky market due to its delicate yet bold flavour notes, creamy texture and velvety mouthfeel. Sadly, however, some whisky connoisseurs feel that their newer expression of this 12-year-old does not quite meet the expectations set by its predecessor when it comes to complexity and character – especially for its price point.

Discerning Macallan connoisseurs may feel that the newer expression of this esteemed liquor is too light, not complex enough and rather muted compared to its classic version. It seems as if they would prefer an extra few years of maturation or a different combination of casks in order to unlock more layers of flavor and fortify the renowned taste profile of Macallan.

Ultimately, when exploring Macallan vs Glenfiddich, it seems clear that the traditional Macallan 12-year-old expression still reigns supreme for those seeking a more intense and layered experience. For those wanting something lighter yet still rich in flavor, Glenfiddich’s 12-year-old expression may be your ideal choice. Its accessible price point and variety of complementary flavors make it the perfect match for any palate.

Glenfiddich 12 is an exquisite single malt whisky, with a delicate floral aroma and spiced palate. Once opened, the scent of grain and orchard fruits, in addition to honeyed maltiness fill the nose. When tasted one experiences a blend of subtle florals and spices that create an incredibly creamy texture on the tongue – complemented by sweet oak notes leading into fruity aromas that linger long after sipping this excellent whiskey.

By combining American and European Oak casks for 12 years of barrel aging, Glenfiddich 12 develops a unique flavor profile that stands out among Speyside whiskies. It contains mouth-watering fruitiness along with acidity, woody notes, and spicy complexity – all culminating in an 80 proof/40% ABV spirit that is ideal neat or as part of your favorite cocktail recipe. Let the subtle balance between these components transport you to a world of smoothness and satisfaction!

Who it’s best suited to:

This whisky is ideal for those in search of a pleasant tipple to savor during the week. The Glenfiddich 12 provides an exceptional all-around flavor that makes it a perfect place to start your whiskey journey. On the other hand, experienced connoisseurs may not be too impressed with the Macallan 12 Double Cask as compared to previous iterations at this age range. You’ll probably find better value if you look elsewhere when choosing something that fits within budget.

Price Comparison (best value for money): The price difference on these whiskies are quite starkly different the Macallan being almost twice the price of the Glenfiddich.

If you’re seeking a tasty whisky that won’t break the bank, then Glenfiddich 12 is your ideal choice. Delighting palates with its light floral and spice notes as well as its incredibly smooth mouthfeel, this drink can easily compete with Macallan 12 (Double Cask), which may be more expensive but not necessarily superior in flavour or quality.

Despite Macallan’s complexity, it cannot compare to the extraordinary flavour of Glenfiddich at such a reasonable price. If you’re seeking an outstanding whisky without breaking your bank account, then the answer is clear: get yourself a bottle of Glenfiddich 12!

If you’d like to read even more detail about the comparison between these two whiskies check out our review here.

Which one is best?

For me it has to be the Glenfiddich 12 year old in this comparison.

Macallan vs Glenfiddich 15 year old: Quick read comparison

Macallan 15 year old
Macallan 15, Double Cask

Macallan 15

Nose: Buttery butterscotch and juicy raisins, combined with the comforting aromas of spiced apple crumble and oaked spices.

Palate: An array of dried fruits, sprinkled with a delightful mixture of cinnamon, candied ginger and orange peel.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a velvety smoothness, this flavour packs an inviting punch.

Finish: Rich, warming ginger complemented with a touch of honey and creamy caramel.

Age: 15 year old

Cask/Barrels: American and European oak, both of which were seasoned with Oloroso sherry

Strength: 86 proof / 43%

Price: £134.95 / $162

Glenfiddich 15 year old
Glenfiddich 15 year old

Glenfiddich 15

Nose: Sherry, with a burst of citrus and orange flavorings, coupled with the subtle smokiness that you can almost taste. The dry woody notes linger in your mouth as if it’s telling its story.

Palate: Indulge in the scrumptious flavours of medium-bodied Sherry, juicy raisins, and an array of spices that perfectly balance out a sweet fruitcake.

Mouthfeel: This beverage has a distinctively dry mouthfeel and leaves your tongue with an aftertaste of warmth.

Finish: Sweetened dried fruits, raisins, spices and a delectable Christmas pudding are overpowered by oak nuances in the aroma.

Age: 15 year old

Cask/Barrels: American bourbon, Portuguese sherry and virgin oak. The whisky was then married in a Solera vat

Strength: 80 proof / 40% ABV

Price: £52 / $62.52

Macallan vs Glenfiddich: The 15 year old review

Flavour comparison:

Macallan and Glenfiddich 15 year old whiskies share a similar flavour profile, with both being aged in Sherry casks which brings out a lot of spiced notes. Macallan has buttery butterscotch, juicy raisins and spices like cinnamon and candied ginger. Whereas Glenfiddich offers an array of sherry with citrus and orange notes, juicy raisins and hints of smokiness. Both whiskies have a dry mouthfeel with warming ginger notes on the finish for Macallan and sweetened dried fruits, raisins, spices and oak nuances for Glenfiddich.

The Macallan 15 is aged in American and European Oak casks that have been seasoned with Oloroso sherry giving it a strength of 86 proof or 43% ABV. The Glenfiddich 15 is aged in American bourbon, Portuguese sherry and virgin oak casks before being married in a Solera vat. This further highlights the similarities between these two whiskies as they both use Sherry cask aging techniques to give their whisky unique flavour profiles with subtle differences between them.

Who’s it best suited to: If you are traditionally a rum drinker and looking for something a bit different the Glenfiddich 15 may be the one for you. Heavily spiced compared to what you would usually expect from a Glenfiddich whisky, which is usually very middle of the road.

The Macallan 15 year old, whilst similar in flavour profile is a far more refined drink when compared with the Glenfiddich edition. The fiery spice is countered beautifully with a buttery smooth caramel finish making for a far more enjoyable dram. So if you are looking for something more fruity than your usual whisky give either of these a go.

Price Comparison (best value for money):

The Macallan 15 year old is significantly more expensive than the Glenfiddich 15 year old. Macallan’s 15 year old whisky retails for around £134.95/$162, whereas the Glenfiddich 15 year old can be purchased for around £52/$62.52, making Macallan almost three times as expensive as Glenfiddich.

But its definitely worth the investment, you are most certainly getting a more refined liquid in the bottle compared with the Glenfiddich.

Whilst Macallan may be more expensive than Glenfiddich, it still offers great value for money given its wide range of flavour notes and complex finish that make it stand out from other whiskies on the market. Macallan’s buttery butterscotch notes, combined with juicy raisins and spices make it an incredibly smooth yet distinctive whisky that any connoisseur would enjoy whilst the rich warming ginger complemented with a touch honey and creamy caramel on the finish adds an extra layer of complexity to this luxurious single malt whisky.

If it’s a special Birthday soon or a cause for celebration we’d definitely pop this one on your list as you won’t be disappointed.

Which one is best?

The Macallan 15 year old is a superior whisky than the Glenfiddich 15, offering a richer and more complex flavour profile. It may be three times the price but I’d say for something truly special it’s worth it.

Macallan vs Glenfiddich 18 year old: Quick read comparison

Macallan 18 year old
Macallan 18, Double Cask

Macallan 18

Nose: Sun-ripened fruit, a twist of zesty ginger and intense toffee. A complex blend with fragrant notes of cloves and nutmeg that envelop your senses.

Palate: Tangy raisins and succulent sultanas intertwine with smooth notes of caramel, vanilla, and ginger. All this is complemented by a kick of wood spice and zesty citrus for an unforgettable flavor experience.

Mouthfeel: An opulent, velvety and silky texture on the tongue.

Finish: The inviting aroma of oak and ginger blend together to become an invigorating sweetness reminiscent of orange.

Age: 18 years

Cask/Barrels: To craft the perfect spirit, Macallan used a combination of American and European oak casks seasoned with Oloroso sherry. The vanilla tones from the former added delicacy to its flavour profile while the latter’s signature spice made it undeniably distinctively Macallan.

Strength: 86 proof / 43% ABV

Price: £319.95 / $378

Glenfiddich 18 Year Old Whisky
Glenfiddich 18 Year Old

Glenfiddich 18

Nose: Sweet and tart grapefruit, crunchy toffee apples, mouthwatering chocolate Flake-y wood with a hint of cinnamon – indulge yourself in an abundance of delectable fruit!

Palate: The combination of candied fruits and Glenfiddich freshness creates a delectable harmony with deeper tones of dried apricot, plus added cinnamon, toffee, ginger and dry Sherry for an extraordinary taste sensation.

Mouthfeel: Rich and creamy, a light hint of spicy heat

Finish: Luscious peels of sweetness, punctuated by a hint of salted toffee.

Age: 18 years

Cask/Barrels: Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks

Strength: 80 proof / 40% ABV

Price: £84.99 / $100

Macallan vs Glenfiddich: The 18 year old review

Flavour comparison:

The Macallan 18 is far more spiced with distinctive notes of ginger and toffee than the Glenfiddich 18. Macallan 18 offers a complex combination of fragrant cloves and nutmeg for a truly luxurious whisky experience, whilst sugary raisins and sultanas provide an additional layer of sweetness. The Macallan’s finish is especially inviting with warm oak mingling with vibrant orange and a hint of clove and nutmeg, providing a truly memorable taste.

In comparison, the Glenfiddich 18 has a sweeter flavour profile with tart grapefruit, crunchy toffee apples, chocolate flakes, cinnamon and dried apricot adding to its complexity. While Glenfiddich’s finish is lusciously sweet with salted toffee combining perfectly with its fruity note, Macallan still stands out due to its diverse range of flavours that add depth and richness to its taste.

The Macallan 18 has a finish that is warm and woody, with a hint of orange. This combination offers a combination of sweetness and spice for an exceptional whisky experience. The Macallan’s oakiness is complemented by the spicy aromas of ginger, clove and nutmeg, providing an inviting aroma that adds complexity to its flavour profile.

In comparison, the Glenfiddich 18 has a finish that is lusciously sweet with salted toffee balancing perfectly with its fruity notes. Although it lacks the strong presence of spices like Macallan 18, it still provides a great whisky experience thanks to its abundance of delectable fruit flavours. The smoothness of this single malt gives it unparalleled creaminess on the palate, making it ideal for enjoying neat or in cocktails.

Price Comparison (best value for money):

Macallan 18 is far more expensive than Glenfiddich 18, with a price tag of £319.95/$378 compared to just £84.99/$100.

Despite Macallan 18’s premium price point, many customers feel that the Glenfiddich 18 offers better value for money, thanks to its combination of candied fruits and freshness that creates an extraordinary taste sensation complimented by deeper tones of dried apricot and cinnamon.

Macallan 18 offers a rich combination of complex flavours, yet some drinkers may find the taste not as intense as they would anticipate from such an expensive whisky.

Who’s it best suited to:

Macallan 18 is the perfect whisky to indulge in with cherished ones on any special moment. Its spectrum of flavour and its smooth finish make this an extraordinary experience to be remembered for years to come.

Macallan 18 is one of the most expensive whiskies in its class, yet it’s worth every penny because of its superior quality and unique flavor profile. With a flavor that can be enjoyed for years to come, Macallan 18 makes an ideal gift or celebratory drink when commemorating something extraordinary!

For the more general whisky drinker looking for something a bit special, the Glenfiddich 18 is an excellent option. Not only does it offer remarkable value for money, with a price tag of just £84.99/$100 compared to Macallan’s £319.95/$378, it also packs an extraordinary taste sensation thanks to its tart notes of grapefruit and crunchy toffee apples, as well as creamy layers of dried apricot and cinnamon.

The Glenfiddich 18’s finish is lusciously sweet with salted toffee harmonizing perfectly with its fruity notes, making it unique in its depth of flavour and complexity without the need of Macallan 18’s intense spices. All this combined makes it an ideal whisky for those looking for something special without breaking the bank.

Which one is best?

The Glenfiddich 18 is undoubtedly the better 18 year old whisky due to its remarkable value for money and extraordinary flavour profile. Firstly, the price tag of Macallan 18 is far more expensive than that of Glenfiddich 18, with Macallan costing £319.95/$378 compared to just £84.99/$100 for the Glenfiddich. This makes Glenfiddich 18 a much more affordable option without compromising on quality or flavour!

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Macallan 18 may lack the punch of flavour some people expect from a whisky at such a high price point, making Glenfiddich’s all-round better value for money. The Macallan offers depth and richness to its taste, however many customers feel that this does not compare to the complexity and intensity of flavours offered by the Glenfiddich 18.

On top of an abundance of candied fruits and freshness, there are deeper tones of dried apricot and cinnamon coming through in each sip which add an unexpected surprise. The Macallan has a warm and woody finish with hints of orange whereas Glenfiddich’s finish is lusciously sweet with salted toffee balancing perfectly with its fruity notes – something Macallan simply cannot match!

It’s clear why so many whisky drinkers choose the Glenfiddich 18 over Macallan; it offers superior value for money alongside a unique taste sensation thanks to its tart notes of grapefruit and crunchy toffee apples combined with creamy layers of dried apricot and cinnamon. All this combined makes it an ideal choice for those looking for something special.

Overall Winner of Macallan vs Glenfiddich:


Glenfiddich Winners

Macallan and Glenfiddich are both renowned Scotch whisky distilleries located in the Speyside region of Scotland. Macallan is known for its double casks and even triple cask expressions, while Glenfiddich produces a variety of different styles of whisky. In a head-to-head comparison between Macallan and Glenfiddich, it is clear that Glenfiddich is the ultimate winner.

When comparing Macallan’s 12 year old expression to Glenfiddich’s 12 year old expression, many find that Macallan’s newer expression is too light. The Macallan expression we recently tried seems to lack complexity and is not as impressive as its well-aged counterpart. We believe that with a few extra years of maturation, or even a new combination of casks in the recipe, it could bring out more levels of flavor and create an overall robust taste profile for the esteemed Macallan brand.

Meanwhile, Glenfiddich’s 12 year old expression has more subtle aromas of honeycomb and stewed fruits accompanied by sweet cereal notes on the taste.

When comparing Macallan’s 15 year old expression to Glenfiddich’s 15 year old expression, Macallan offers an incredibly complex flavour profile full of dried fruits and spices on the nose followed by a smooth texture and hints of oak and caramel on the palate. It also has a long finish that lingers with notes of dark fruits and subtle oakiness. On the other hand, Glenfiddich’s 15 year old expression is heavily spiced, similar to that of a rum rather than a whisky. This may be for you, however, in the case of the 15 year old we felt Macallan had a better result.

Finally, when comparing Macallan’s 18 year old expression to Glenfiddich’s 18 year old expression it becomes even clearer that Glenfiddich is the ultimate winner in this comparison between Macallan vs Glenfiddich. Macallan’s 18 year old expression has intense aromas of dried fruits such as raisins, cherries and figs along with hints of citrus peel on the palate.

However, it lacks complexity compared to Glenfiddich’s 18 Year Old which presents aromas of sultanas paired with notes of dark chocolate, leather sofa and orange peel combined together in perfect harmony followed by a clean finish reminiscent of applesauce cake with walnuts sprinkled throughout. For the price point of £86/$100 we think its excellent value for money.

In conclusion, across our review all three age expressions: 12, 15 & 18 years olds; it was clear that in Macallan vs Glenfiddich that overall Glenfiddich was the winner due to its diverse flavour profiles offering complexity and unique character at each age statement which could not be matched by Macallans.

If you are keen to try Glenfiddich but still a little unsure we’ve a few comparisons which you might want to check out first. Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich or Glenlivet vs Glenfiddich vs Glenmorangie

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