Taste: Macallan 23 year Whisky Broker

The majority of sites about whisky tend to focus on whisky reviews. We all desire reliable and honest information leading to hopefully value for money and maximum taste. I’ve skirted around following the norm and will continue to do so, however expect the odd tasting review to feature now and again. These will be labelled ‘Taste’ so you can search easily for my own whisky journey. Each bottle will be my own purchase unless otherwise noted and sampled in the comfort of my own home. I’ll try to ensure consistency by sampling each whisky in the same environment and with a clean palate. So without further ado, this dinky 20cl bottle is something different…

Technically this is not a whisky despite coming from one of the blue chip distilleries in the form of Macallan. Yes my friends, the alcohol has dipped below 40% so this former single malt has been cast adrift into the spirit void after 23 years. As always with Taste, the details:

Distillery: Macallan
Distilled: 23rd January 1990
Bottled: 5th March 2013
Strength: 34.9%
Cask Type: Single oak hogshead
Cask Numbers: n/a
Additional: Not chill filtered

Colour: Pale varnish in keeping with the oak cask

Nose: This is a restrained fellow. A minimal hint of honey, pine, vanilla and shortbread. It really only improves and moves from the shadows if you leave a dram to settle for 10 minutes.

Mouth: On first tasting I just didn’t like this at all. A cold damp flannel slapped across the face first came to mind and a watered down feeling rushed into my conciousness. The senses suggested that this was a blend or grain that had been the victim of too much water at a friend’s dinner party – you know that friend who felt buying a whisky for his mate would be a good gesture – then drowning it in H20. I’m sure we’ve all been there at some stage. There is no need for water (obviously) and lurking faintly is a creaminess of a grain whisky. It does have hidden charms, as by about my third measure and after left standing to acclimatise, those subtle flavours began to creep back in. Ginger, orange peel, malted bread and marzipan.
Raith’s verdict: An oddity without question. I do find it interesting having sampled this malt (or whatever you want to refer to it as), which has dipped 5.1% below the whisky benchmark manages to retain some character with a little preparation and prompting. It is a shy, stubborn malt. I’d recommend it to those curious about the rules governing whisky or those wishing to form an appreciation of whisky. Moving from blends to single malts this might just be the perfect halfway house. Easily drinkable and a discussion piece amongst whisky drinkers. You won’t see such releases very often with the efficient production standards now in place. With No Age Statement whiskies growing, how long before distilleries ask questions around the 40% rule?

I should dislike this Macallan however it is very easy drinking. A perfect support act to more serious whisky to follow in the evening. I’m still enjoying it’s solid charms. If you also enjoy blending your own whiskies at home, then this could be a fun component of your experiments. 

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