30 year old Macallan that’s was laid down in October 1988 and matured in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel. Interestingly categorised as Spicy & Sweet rather than Old & Dignified. It was priced at £995 at launch, which on the one hand might seem steep for a non-sherry cask Macallan. But, if you take a look around at the price of other IB Macallans of a similar age, you’ll find that most are clocking in at 50% - 100% more expensive.
Nose: Tropical fruits and polished wood. Spit-roasted pineapple, banana, guava and mango (all incredibly bright and vibrant) are supported by an antique warehouse packed full of exquisite furniture. Lacquered tables, mirror-sheen polished mahogany and bees waxed parquet flooring. Wild honey, soft baked pastries and Dulce de Leche all add rich sweetness, whilst cinnamon and nutmeg spicing are joined by steeped fruit teas and biscuit crumb. Dilution adds tinned fruits into the mix – peaches and apricots – with a side of Chantilly cream.
Taste: The arrival is silky smooth and not at all underpowered considering the low ABV. Again, the order of the day is fruits and woods. Raspberry and elderflower cordial, juicy pineapple, mango, passionfruit and guava and plenty of hard glossy wood surfaces – libraries packed full of old books and comfy armchairs. The mid palate is more creamy with high quality toffee, wild honey and crème bruee, whilst the back-palate offers steeped teas and soft, supple wood tannins. The addition of water results in a drier experience – dried fruits (apricots, plums) and dried wood – oak oils, lemony polish and charred cask ends.
Finish: Medium to long with fading tropical fruits, buttery biscuits and singed old dry oak.
Despite being delivered without the house-style sherry, I find this Macallan to be pretty remarkable. The brightness and vibrancy of fruit is matched and equalled by the intensity and maturity of the wood – polished, supple and exceedingly opulent. It’s a shame that so many of these will end up unopened - the liquid itself is utterly dreamy.