After a difficult year, we thought we’d treat ourselves at Christmas to a sample of an incredible malt, a sensation, a real piece of history; this is a 1958 Macallan, bottled in 1973 at 15 years of age and distributed in Italy by Rinaldi at the time. To those who complain that ‘rich people’s’ bottles are never opened, well, we bought this Macallan in Genoa in 2015 and then opened it at the 2018 Tasting Facile, in a beautiful tasting, a party together with so many enthusiasts – we’ve been cramming a sample in for over two years and now it’s worth taking it out of the cupboard. Best wishes to you all.
N: mamma mia, what a nose, what an incredible spectacle: if one wonders why Macallan has earned the fame it has today, well, the answer is in this glass. The first patina of ‘old’ is extraordinary, it smells like a newspaper library, old paper, old dusty wooden furniture. The fruity side is devastating, very intense, made up of blackberries and blueberry jam; black fruit; and orange, well, there is that too, even if a little. Candied orange dipped in dark chocolate? Dehydrated and candied papaya. Pipe tobacco. Walnut, too. Enchanting, it changes and offers new nuances every time you approach it.
P: the palate held up very well, body and alcohol seem very solid. The profile remains fairly consistent, with explosions of black and tropical fruit (papaya again); red orange peel. Then a hint of trifle (sultanas) and caramel… and it is precisely the caramel, a little cooked, that brings us to the question marks of this palate: violet and mentholated, scents that lead in the direction of… shaving foam. Too bad, the first sensation of “it held up very well” is contradicted by the facts.
F: very long and persistent, a hint of soot, like ash, strikes and notes of red fruit linger endlessly. Dried fruit (walnut again).
Let’s start with the dramatic moment of judgement: 89/100. Mind you: the nose was 93 or 94 points, it was frankly spectacular; the palate is unfortunately “marred” by the soapy pickaxe, which is the result of a sample that has evidently lost something compared to when we tasted it in 2018, being completely seduced by it. We stop before 90 to bear witness to this, unfortunately, and greet this Macallan with yet another regret of this 2020 – and it serves as a warning: don’t keep certain whiskies in certain samples for long, just drink them.
Recommended soundtrack: Oneothrix Point Never – Long Road Home.