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1949 The Macallan 50 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (700ml)
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- ABV 43%
Exclusively matured in Spanish oak sherry casks this exceptionally rare bottling was released in August 1999 to celebrate the new millennium.
"We wanted to create a Macallan reflective of those years immediately following the second world war", comments Macallan whisky maker, David Robertson. "The three casks we chose were all filled on the same day, 14th January 1949, and have matured here in Speyside over the last 50 years; it's quite a humbling thought! I was also struck that each cask was almost identical in strength (between 50.2% and 50.8% abv.) when we tipped them ready for the marrying period which started on 12th May 1999, each having lost the same amount of alcohol over those 50 years!...There is a kiss of peat smoke to the profile which is a throwback to the fact, that, at that time, we had our own floor maltings at Macallan and a higher proprtion of peat was being used in the drying process due to continuing coal rationing post the second World War."
Naturally, no caramel colouring has been added. Collector's will note that only 900 bottles were produced.
Some historical perspective helps one appreciate this whisky all the more.
Should you be so fortunate to pour a glass, consider that whilst this whisky was beginning its long maturing sleep in the cold January winds, with snow heaped at the front of the warehouse doors, the world away witnessed some remarkable events. That March, clothes rationing ended in Great Britain. In April, the Communist blockade of West Berlin was lifted. In August, NATO was established. And in September, Mao Tse-Tung proclaimed the People's Republic of China.
More importantly the whisky itself is rated highly. Jim Murray, author of the Whisky Bible, described it as "A Malt to die for".
While the late whisky connoisseur/author, Michael Jackson, described it as "a beautifully composed, luxurious whisky."
The decanter is another story.
Housed in an oak presentation box with lock and key, it features a copper ingot cast from No. 9 spirit still from the Macallan distillery.
The decanter itself has been crafted by Caithness Glass, one of the leading producers of the highest quality, hand made glassware throughout the world. Using sand from Loch Aline in Argyllshire and drawing on the skills of the local people employed in their Wick factory in the north of Scotland, Caithness Glass is recognized for its remarkable artistry. The exceptional quality of Caithness Glass makes the perfect partner for the Macallan 50 Year Old. Lead free crystal has been crafted into the striking Macallan Millennium Decanter, which bears those clean lines so typical of Caithness Glass design.
A team of two glassmakers ensures absolute consistency of quality. Between them they must judge by hand the exact weight of glass with which to produce each decanter to the correct volume. Gary McKay makes the “ball”, the first two “gathers” of molten glass, blown into a compact ball shape on the blowing iron; Graeme Crowe then adds the top “gather” of glass and completes the highly skilled task of blowing each decanter into its final shape. Cutting, finishing, grinding, polishing and engraving complete the demanding production process.
Each decanter is finished with copper detail on the neck and stopper, before being filled with the sublime Macallan spirit. The presentation box is fashioned from oak and features a copper ingot, cast from copper reclaimed from No. 9 spirit still at Macallan Distillery. Naturally, the copper will tarnish over time, but regular polishing will keep these elements in pristine condition.
Tasting note: The deep, polished mahogany appearance is a pleasure to behold, not more so than the perfumed aroma in its stunning combination of raisin, date, old leather, floor wax, toasty cereals, vanilla, old liquorice strap and more besides. In the mouth it's the ethereal texture that sets this apart from the pack as the whisky hovers over the tongue and slowly expands into every corner of the mouth. Evidently the extended time in oak has sapped some sweetness but the palate demonstrates how Macallan can hold its age - still relatively vigourous and luscious after five decades, with sublime flavours of nougat, dried fruits and towards the finish, hints of citrus peel, cocoa and beeswax. Super fine tannins dry the mouth and add texture to the aftertaste that, while fragile, continues with notes of nougat and beeswax with remarkable length. In some ways comparable to an Oloroso Sherry from an ultra aged solera, this profound grandfather of a malt is guaranteed to incite strong superlatives - if not euphoria. 43% Alc./Vol.
Other reviews... Nose: Toffee and sherry hand in hand, alongside ripe apples and grape. Sweet and sexy. Palate: Mouth-filling and malty, sandwiched by some fine and extremely clean sherry notes. Finish: Lingering Oloroso and liquorice; good age but light enough for the malt, spice and smoke finish. Comment : Magnificent finesse and charm makes this a Macallan to die for. - Jim Murray, wwww.whiskymag.comsize>
One bottle only to sell.