Monday, April 8, 2013

World Wonders: Macallan 33yo

Post by Stefan of Tokyo Whisky Hub
“World Wonders” is one of three series the people at Whisk-e launched in the fall of 2012. We’ve already featured the other two – “The Oceans” and “Stellar Selection” – and today we present this exceptional specimen from the third series: a 33yo Macallan (1979) drawn from a single hogshead and bottled by Morrison & MacKay at a cask-strength of 42.3%abv. “World Wonders”, incidentally, is not self-congratulatory labeling on the part of Whisk-e. It refers to the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and this particular bottling sports a lovely print of what the Hanging Gardens of Babylon may well have looked like.

On the nose, you get fresh melon, pear drops, pineapple fritters, overripe bananas, a bit of peach yoghurt and a slight hint of wood smoke that gains presence with time in the glass. Also, after a while, a subtle herbal dimension (thyme) reveals itself. On the palate, there’s honey-on-toast, pear tart, pommeau and a good deal of wood tannins but not excessive. The finish is medium-long on toasted coconut shavings, mild espresso and a hint of raspberry sorbet. It doesn’t need water at all. Fabulous as is.

This may not conform to your image of an “old Macallan” but that’s one of the things that makes it so interesting: it has retained a certain lightness and youthfulness but, at the same time, there’s a depth to it that only decades of gentle maturation in a cask that’s not too dominant can bring to a whisky. It comes with a steep price tag (a little over 50,000 yen) but they don’t call Macallan the “Rolls Royce” of malts for no reason. Still available at the better liquor stores and in some department stores here.

2 comments:

Adam said...

It sounds like a very very interesting Macallan. Their 12 year old is a standard bottle in my collection, occasionally being mixed in with the 18 year old. I really need to look into trying some other bottles, from that distiller.

Maybe you mentioned this in your write up, but I did not see it was this a Sherry or Bourbon Hogshead? Looking at its lightness it seems like it could possibly be a bourbon hogshead.

Stefan said...

Hi Adam,
Thanks for your message. You're right, it's from an ex-bourbon hogshead and it is a really interesting Macallan. It will be available for tasting (with premium vouchers) at Whisky Live / TIBS 2013, so if you're going to the show, be sure to try it there!