Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Malt Mission 2007 #9

Macallan Fifties
Single Malt Whisky
40% abv


Why try to recreate malts from the past? Perhaps it is just an excuse for whisky makers to taste all the old bottles and sample every cask in the warehouse. The advantage at Macallan is that they have kept a museum-like archive of old bottlings providing the perfect historical reference point to conduct such an experiment.

One thing is known for certain, that Macallan from the 1920s to 1950s was quite different to the Macallan of today. This was because the Spanish Civil War and WWII affected the availability of sherry casks. Also, coal was expensive in decades leading up to and during the war causing distillers to use local fuels to dry barley, ie. peat. Macallan was in fact little like the sweet rich sherried whisky we know today, but rather a peaty and less sherried whisky.

David "Robbo" Robertson said, “What I would really like to do is to is to go back beyond the 1930s and find out if there were pockets of time where The Macallan was peated.”

Well that is the thought that inspired this series. And peat does appear at varied intensity, esp. in 30s and 40s. Try them all if you get a chance.

This particular expression is the last in the travel series (Twenties, Thirties, Fourties, Fifities). Let me also say that contrary to what many people might think when seeing these on shelves(I know I was guilty of this), these are not simple cash grabs, they are well made, delicious, critically acclaimed, and very interesting whiskies.


Very sweet, sherry sweetness. Burnt toast. Fresh grapes. A bit of rubber, leather, but sweetened by sherry characteristics: raisins, toffee, wine and oak. Raw green peas.

Syrupy and pleasant in the mouth. Like port or reduced balsamic vinegar(in terms of texture). Fermenting fruits. Tobacco and pipe smoke. Airy impression, perfumy effect of flavour while oily on the tongue. Finishes quite quickly actually, which suprised me. Finished big though, with flavours of cinnamon gum, licorice(sweets, not the root), bitter chocolate, brown rice that all comes in a single wave and then fades towards shore.


I wish I had every one in this series to try in this malt mission, they are really ALL very interesting, very well crafted, and would be great to try back to back. Excellent stuff. They are also appropriate to have after JMR whiskies because the skills Robbo applied and learned from in creating the Macallan Decades Series, he was able to bring to Jon, Mark, and Robbo's line. The 50cl idea might have been borrowed as well...

Malt Mission #6
Malt Mission #7
Malt Mission #8
Malt Mission #10

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