Nose: Oh Lordy. Ginger snaps, dried autumn leaves, mixed peel, icing sugar, rich marmalade, barley sugar. A faint wisp of smoke in the background. Somehow elegant and pungent at the same time. Raspberry and damson jam, developing hawthorn, faint hazelnuts and exotic fruit: tinned peaches, strawberries, pineapple syrup, fresh mango (perhaps these latter from bottle ageing?) shortbread, golden syrup, oatcakes, honeyed flapjacks…
Palate: Medium-weight, with a very elegant delicacy. The oak is strong here, binding the nuts, sweetness, marmalade, fruit and bakery notes together, with cooked apple, balsamico, grapefruit and even sherry trifle flavours getting a look-in. This bottle is slightly oxidised as it’s been open a while, but the flavours are still intense, and truly beautiful. More assertive pepper than I expected, with delicious notes of polished wood and old bookshops.
Finish: Not particularly long, as is to be expected with a whisky of this strength and antiquity, but spectacularly pretty nonetheless. My tastebuds are tingling.
Comment: A privilege. Truly a glorious old whisky, in fact it’s easy to see that it was glories such as these on which the Macallan legend was founded. One can only imagine what it must have been like at cask strength, or even 46%. Yet this fabulous whisky has a true grace and drinkability at 40%. They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.