The Macallan 29 year old 1976 Vintage (Cask #11354), 45.4%
Single Malt Scotch | $1,500
Classic sherry cask-aged Macallan. Antique amber with hints of ruby. Thickly textured, complex, and quite deep, with notes of toffee, ripe pit fruit, raisin, apple pie, dried spice (cinnamon, clove, ginger, and mint), and a wisp of smoke. An exceptional, multi-faceted Macallan!
Amber color. Richly textured (great mouth feel), with vanilla fudge, nougat, ripe citrus, and ginger cake leading to a complex, spicy finish. Great depth on this one. Well-polished. My pick of the lot.
Antique amber. The darkest and most decadent of the four. Quite viscous and soothing, with well-layered notes of apple pie, marmalade, and maple syrup balanced by dried fruits, ginger, polished leather, tobacco, and resinous oak. One to sip and savor very slowly. (This whisky is much better than the last ultra-premium release, the Macallan 55 year old in the Lalique Decanter, and thousands of dollars less.)
Another of the Fine Oak series (aged in both bourbon and sherry casks), which will debut in the U.S. in March. Of the five Fine Oak expressions that will be in the U.S. (10, 15, 17, 21, and 30 year old), this is my favorite, slightly besting the 15 year old. Lovely sweet notes (creamy vanilla, light toffee, marshmallow, shortbread, and a kiss of honey) are accompanied by bright fruit (multi-layered citrus) and potpourri of dried spices, along with a hint of nut and wisp of smoke. A very refined and sophisticated whisky.
That Boutique-y Whisky Company 29 year old (distilled at Macallan), 43.5%
Single Malt Scotch | $560
This has the poise and physique of a classic sherried Macallan. Hazelnut, mixed peel, peach cobbler, and wood spices form a delightful olfactory combination. Warm, weighty sherry notes bathe the mouth with ginger loaf, milk chocolate chunks, and espresso in support, lilting toward a lip-smacking finish of peach melba and amontillado sherry. It’s increasingly rare to find a top-quality aged independent Macallan, so don’t miss out.
The iconic producer of lush sherried malts delivers again. Employing the same technique of marrying whiskies aged in sherry-seasoned casks of both American and European oak that landed the 12 year old in our 2017 Top 20 has resulted in a truly decadent dram—richly nutty and fruity, with dried apples, cherries, and prunes. The palate is wonderfully luscious, supple, and chewy, delivering mouth-coating waves of fruit that remain for minutes on end, before a long farewell of lingering, warming spice. Impressive and irresistibly good. Number 16 in the 2020 Top 20
Amber-chestnut color. Aromas are very mature and so thick, one almost needs a knife to cut it. Notes of dried fruit (orange, lemons, pineapple) and wood spices (especially clove), with more than a suggestion of peat smoke. Thick, enveloping texture-like a warm coat on a bitterly cold day. Very mature. One can easily deduce this is a very old whisky-the woodiness is evident on the palate. But it is not in excess. There’s plenty of dried fruit, enticing wood spices, and peat to keep the palate entertained, all the way through to its very long, dry finish.
The Macallan 18 year old Sherry Oak (2017 Edition), 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $294
The latest annual limited release is classic and sure to please true aficionados of Macallan. Stewed fruit and old leather on the nose, along with ripe cherries, gingersnaps, and black pepper, before orange marmalade notes develop. Full-bodied, with fragrant sweet orange, milk chocolate-coated Turkish delight, and faint smoke. The finish yields dark chocolate, cherry liqueur, and more pepper. Long and spicy.
Rising above the tat issued to celebrate the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton was this extremely limited (1,000 bottles) release from The Macallan. The nose is a mélange of rich fruits, marzipan, and beeswax/resin but it lifts with a drop of water to show apricot and heavy florals. The palate isn’t overly grippy, with more orange peel, almond, and characteristic oiliness. A malty/nutty smooth finish makes this a great one. £150 (Not available in the U.S.)
Deep notes of wood polish on the floral nose, with toffee and a whiff of cloves. The palate is slick, with Christmas pudding, orange, caramel, oak, and dark chocolate. Black coffee, citrus fruit, ginger, and black pepper in the lengthy finish.
Intended to showcase the color of Macallan, the fifth annual Edition release has been aged in a variety of American oak casks. The nose is initially reticent and offers dried fruits, salted caramel, sawdust, and ginger. Extremely smooth on the palate, with more dried fruits, ripe plums, milk chocolate, new leather, and black pepper. The finish is medium in length, with leather and dark chocolate.
This 2017 release includes spirit from three sherry-seasoned hogsheads and three butts, some of which had previously held a peated whisky. The nose offers familiar dark chocolate, dried fruit, sultanas, and ripe cherry notes, with a whiff of woodsmoke. More dried fruits on the rich palate, with coffee grounds, ginger, and sherry merging with subtle peat. The finish is luxurious, with smoky raisins and pleasing wood spice. (40 bottles for U.S.)
Solid amber color. Flavors are seamless, silky smooth, and rich, with notes of dried fruit and flowers, toffee, subtle spices, and delicate nuts. A great after dinner malt, but universal enough to drink anytime.
Duncan Taylor 21 year old Dimensions Cask Strength 1997 (distilled at Macallan), 53%
Single Malt Scotch | $1,900
Here’s an accomplished Macallan, not a leather-lashed first-fill, but the nose is still replete with prominent sherry notes accompanied by marzipan, ripe mango, apricot, violin rosin, wood spices, and dried lavender. This has a beautiful weight with sweet, candied orange and active spices. As tropical fruits appear, there is chocolate, clove, pepper, and a slight nuttiness, with vanilla and baked fruits on the finish.
Deep amber color. Complex aromas of lush fruit (orange, lemon, red currant) and oak spices (cinnamon, clove, and licorice). Rich, silky body. Great balance and depth of flavor, with complex fruit and wood spices similar to its aroma all wrapped in toffee and vanilla fudge. Very long, evolving, and satisfying finish.
Deep amber color with crimson hues. Incredibly rich aromas of fruitcake, toffee, dates, roasted nuts, with a hint of cocoa powder and other spices. Rich and thick in body. On the palate, there are evolving notes of chewy toffee, ripe fruit (oranges, golden raisons), chocolate covered nuts, multigrain toast, and polished oak. Long, soothing finish.
This is my favorite of the three. For about $20 more, you get a richer, much more complex whisky than the 10 year old, and it is more balanced than the 21 year old. This 15 is drier than the 10, with lovely floral and spice notes (cinnamon, coriander, dried orange peel, lavender, rose), balanced by honey-laced complex fruit, and a dry, dark chocolate/orange marmalade finish.
Macallan 18 year old Sherry Oak (2018 Edition), 43%
Single Malt Scotch | $320
Like previous releases, this was matured in sherry-seasoned oak casks. Jaffa oranges, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and dried fruits on the nose, plus warm leather. The palate is rich and spicy, with more orange, vanilla, and burning logs. Smoky sherry, ginger, dried fruits, and seasoned oak in the full finish.