Macallan 10yo From 1985 With Old Bottle Effect
It’s time for the second sample from Yapi’s High End Blind Tasting. After starting with a nice Strathmill, the second round turned out to be somewhat more special: old Macallan!
I’m only about six years into my whisky journey and am yet to reach thirty, so the whole Macallan-hype used to be somewhat strange to me. The Fine Oak-series never impressed me, and the 1824 color coded whiskies have been controversial ever since their release. But after tasting an old-school Macallan (one that was bottled the year I was born), I can see why so many people fell in love with this Speysider.
This sample also meant my first brush with Old Bottle Effect. As you’ll read in my notes below, I was really thrown after smelling soy sauce. But when the identity of the whisky was revealed, some other participants mentioned that one of the signs of Old Bottle Effect can be the smell of soy sauce, which explained why I detected that particular aroma. Tasting this sample turned out to be a great learning experience.
Macallan 10yo for Giovinetti & Figli Milano (40%, bottled circa 1985)
Nose: Lovely fruity with cherries, passion fruit and also some rock candy sweetness. There’s also a mineral aroma, and a hint of caramel and thick syrup. After nosing some other whiskies to compare this one to, my nose seems to get confused. I now smell soy sauce, which is new for me. During the second tasting of this sample the soy sauce disappeared. There however is a strange spiciness that is hard to describe.
Taste: This is a very smooth, subtle whisky. Some herbs compliment plums and pears. The mouthfeel is right down my ally: the dryness and the tannins really fit this whisky.
Finish: Fairly long with some smoke, bitterness and a little bit of fruit.
It just missed a score of 90, because it lacks power and complexity. My guess after the blind tasting? Refill sherry, 25/30 years old with an abv below 50 percent. I guessed Ben Nevis or Lochside, but I have to say that I was influenced by other participants, because we are free to discuss our findings on the Dutch Whisky Forum. All in all a very cool experience to be able to taste something from a bygone whisky era.
Do you want to read notes on this whisky by someone who also participated in this blind tasting? Visit The Lyne Arm.
Thijs is a spirits writer and accredited liquorist from The Netherlands. He runs the blog Words of Whisky and contributes to a number of Dutch and international publications.