...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Whisky 1500: Macallan-Glenlivet 32 yo 1937 Gordon & MacPhail (Donini)

This isn't actually my 1500th review. I miscounted, so my actual 1500th whisky review was the Ballechin Bunny. Or maybe it wasn't because I don't think I've documented all of my re-reviews. I've also reviewed an additional ~100 whiskies without giving a number grade (due to sample size), plus another 70+ in my Killing Whisky History series. I'm probably close to the 1700-mark, but who knows. Quantifying whisky is a fool's game, so numbers don't mean anything.

Except here's a 32 year old Macallan that was distilled in 1937.

Those numbers mean something. A time, a place, patience.

I've had some 1960s Macallan but that's as far back as I've gone. Here are two links to folks who may have a better idea of what this era's Macallan tastes like. Since I have no frame of reference, I'll just offer some thank yous.

I want to thank Cobo for including me in this bottle split almost exactly seven years ago. We discussed the bottle's provenance, and then each took part in some cLs. The sample's fill level hasn't moved in seven years, about which I am very thankful. I'm a dope for waiting so long.

And thank you to the individual who elected to open his bottle of 1937 Macallan, and split it at a fraction of the market value. You are a mensch.

I also want to thank the old Italian importers, because without them we wouldn't have so many fake Italian dusties examples of single malt history to study, in our mouths.

And finally, thank you to my readers! I can't believe you're still here. Seriously, look at all of these words! 

Okay, I've delayed this long enough.

Distillery: Macallan
Ownership: The Edrington Group
Ownership at time of distillation: Roderick Kemp's Trust
Region: Speyside (Central)
Bottler: Gordon & MacPhail
Imported by: Donini S.R.L., Milano
Distillation year: 1937
Age: at least 32 years
Maturation: sherry casks
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

So many notes swirl through the nose at the same time. Ocean and dandelions. Nectarines and blackberry juice. Dried currants and dried leaves. Daifuku and hints of tobacco, earth, parmesan and malt. It both charms and overwhelms.

The palate tricks one into thinking it's going to be too sugary, then takes a left turn into tartness. Yes there are black mission figs, daifuku and a mouthful of sweet shisha smoke. But there are also dried cranberries and currants that someone forgot to sweeten, and some tart citrus around the edges.

It has a very long sticky finish that's like a mix of black fig liqueur and German bitter herbal digestifs. Rainier cherries in the background and some more good bitterness right down the middle.

This has become a fragile whisky, requiring time in the glass, but not too much time. It's both a vibrant dessert malt, and something that calls for silence. One can treat these old bottles casually, as they can be fabulous drinkers, but I think to really indulge one needs to wrap oneself in the moment, put all the other things away, and just sit. It's a fair thing to do on a weeknight. Thank you all.

Availability - Secondary market, maybe?
Pricing - High
Rating - 91