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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Macallan 15 year old 1995 AD Rattray, cask 11251

The whisky bug infected my system at the dusk of the Golden Age of Whisky For Whisky Enthusiasts. In those days one could find the occasional single bourbon cask of Macallan AND pay for it without having to skip two months of rent. And I'll skip over the rest of this back-in-the-good-ol'-days schtick to get to my point...

Whether we all like it or not, Macallan is one of the iconic whisky distilleries, thus not having bourbon cask Macallan available feels like a loss to the whisky community as whole. We're unable to experience Macallan's malt uncloaked by volumes of sherry......you know, figure out what Macallan's actual distillery character is.

MAO sent me this sample of bourbon cask Macallan bottled by Dewar Rattray back in 2011. While I doubt it will pull back the curtain and reveal the truth of Macallan's spirit, I'm still happy to try it!

Distillery: Macallan
Region: Speyside (Central)
Bottler: Dewar Rattray
Age: 15 years (October 1995 - April 2011)
Maturation: bourbon cask, probably a hoggie
Cask #: 11251
Outturn: 334
Alcohol by Volume: 46%
Chill-filtration? No
Caramel coloring? No
(Sample from swap with My Annoying Opinions)

Its color is a good deal lighter than that of Monday's 12yo Fine Oak. The nose has a fruity side: lemon zest, peach skin and fresh bananas. Then it has its, well, non-fruity side: a significant grassy note, along with hints of vanilla and musty cask. The palate is a little weird on the first sip, showing cardboard and fabric. Matters improve upon subsequent sips. Sweet lemons, fresh ginger, tart berries, vanilla, roasted nuts and toasted oak. It finishes tangy and with plenty of spicy oak. Then there's vanilla, almonds, sugar and heat.

Looking at MAO's post, I wonder if this sample lost a little zip after a few years in the sample bottle. I side a little more with Florin's (egads!) estimation in the that post's comments section.

Though the palate does have its fruit, I'm left wanting more of it, perhaps to brighten up the otherwise simple remainder, or to cleanse the memory of the first sip. Maybe something closer to the nose's fruity volume? The cask starts to take over around 25-30 minutes in, which doesn't help matters. It's not a flawed whisky, nor is it a particularly characterful one. As with the 12yo Fine Oak, it could be from nearly any distillery.

Availability - Sold out — like Macallan itself (ha!)
Pricing - ???
Rating - 80

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