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Macallan, 1999


The people behind The Macallan have managed to cultivate an 'exclusive' and luxurious brand perception, even though the distillery actually has the second largest production capacity in Scotland, right behind Glenfiddich. The distillery is Speyside’s best known heavyweight – and constantly embracing a new challenge : its current view is that the reaction between wood and sherry is also of great importance. This appears to wash out the harshest tannins and help release a rich, rounded spiciness. This is felt to be far more significant than any aromas and flavors imparted by the sherry itself. One rather extreme piece of research suggested that barely a third of aromas and flavors originated from the spirit, almost 60 per cent from the oak, and less than 10 per cent from the sherry.

That's why it's no surprise that my whisky reseller praised me the Macallan Gordon & McPhail 1999 vintage edition, as a must in every liquor cabinet. As I'm a man who's fond of good advice, the bottle was mine some minutes later.

The color : amber, dark gold.
The nose : sweet, fruity, typical Speyside. So far no surprises.
The taste : oh so sweet, could be creamy rum for what it's worth. Apples, honey, raisins. Some chocolate and malt, and after that, light sherry tones flowing in, with an amazing caramel candy aftertaste that lingers forever. Wonderfully complex and ditto balanced.

This Macallan is not good, it's excellent ! One of the best Speysides I've ever tasted. So sweet, so friendly, such a marvellous combination of sherry & whisky tastes.