We’ll end the week with a little dig into The Dramble’s archives of dearly departed oddities – plucking out this 1987 Sherry Wood Macallan. Nowadays, sherry and Macallan are nigh on synonymous, however many official sherried bottlings (particularly those of an older age) now come with hefty price tags attached – such is world of one of the most recognisable, but collectible of single malts. But, fear not malt enthusiasts for once again independent bottlers have your corner, offering a wide variety of Macallans at prices which generally don’t require a second mortgage.
Founded in 1824, Macallan started life as Elchies Distillery. It was renamed Macallan-Glenlivet towards the end of the 19th Century – over the years, 26 distilleries also appended the ‘Glenlivet’ suffix to their distillery names in an attempt to trade off of the success of the original (The) Glenlivet who were one of the first to obtain an distilling license after the 1823 Excise Act. Macallan-Glenlivet was renamed to just ‘Macallan’ in 1980, and indeed the practice of suffixing Glenlivet has now largely died out. Today’s tasting notes comes from a bottle which still bears this suffix (though I’m not entirely sure why) – a 1987 17 year old Sherry Wood from independent bottler Cadenhead's. 630 bottles were produced in 2005 with an ABV of 46% as part of their ‘Original Collection’ series of the time.
Nose: Deep and substantive. An immediate waft of chocolate, cocoa nibs and rum soaked raisins sends us on our journey into rich sherry territory. Lighter notes of caramelised orange segments and cherries provide an uplift before we hit the aromas of cask influence – light polish, old books, cinnamon and sandalwood. There’s some sourness here and a real meaty dimension – akin to a rich reduced gravy.
Taste: A wonderful vivid arrival with all the Christmas cake goodness you’d expect. Dark rum, chocolate and a healthy dash of black pepper and cinnamon. Festive stuff. On the back of the palate the sourness remains, and sits alongside an earthy quality which is with all its moist woody soil comes across as quite dunnage warehouse.
Finish: Long and combining both sweet and sour with a lick of bitterness and sea salt.
A very solid indy Macallan with a great arrival and an excellent balanced finish. 17 years in cask seems to have been just right for this liquid – the interplay between spirit and wood is spot on for my liking. It’s not the most complex of animals out there, but all the individual flavour components work very well with each other. Being bottled in 2005 means this is long sold out alas – but I’ve seen a few at auction (that’s where I obtained mine a while back). If you can find this for a fair price then it’s certainly one to consider taking a punt on.