View Full Version : Macallan 1920's
This is the 1920's recreation of The Macallan, whisky chosen from existing stocks of Macallan but intended to duplicate the taste of Macallan as it was in the 1920's. (How do they know? They have archival bottles and other resources, e.g., distillery records, to check what the taste was like then). This is ... very good. It has a rich sherried taste (dry Oloroso I think) against a complex background of sweet barley malt, light but noticeable peat, dry oak, light spice, and bracing alcohol. It is, as compared to good Bourbon, much drier, and perhaps more complex. When I blend Bourbons though, I approximate the complexity one gets in Macallan 1920's. For those of you who have access, try it. It is a different taste in whisky than Bourbon but shows I think why Scotch whisky acquired its world renown. In the Decade Series of Macallan the others are the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's. These are good but the 1920's takes the cake. It happens to have some very old Macallan in it (some is 25 years old, I understand); maybe that explains the super-quality I find.
How would you say this 1920-series compare to the Macallan of today?
Tasting notes are almost always a fickle business but some of your desciptions (rich sherried taste, sweet malted barley, light but noticeable peat, light spice) make it sound very much like the current 18yo Macallan.
I would say the 1920's is preferable to the standard 12 year old expression because it is more peated and therefore more complex. I believe in fact the 12 year old is not peated at all. Another factor is that the 1920's contains some whisky which is older than 12 years old. I have not tasted the 18 year old in some time, if peat was used 18 years ago at Macallan that might bring the 18 year old close to the palate of 1920's Decade Series. Another factor, which I didn't mention earlier, is not all the whisky in the Decade Series was aged in first fill sherry barrels. The practice of aging all the whisky that way at Macallan only became standardised in the 1970's. Some of the Decade Series state on the labels that sherry barrels were in short supply (e.g. because of the Spanish Civil War) in the era in question; therefore it appears second- fill and perhaps ex-bourbon barrels were used for some of the whisky in the 1930's and 1940's Decade Series. The 1920's bottling possibly used all-first fill sherry barrels but this aspect is not addressed on the label. I tried the others in the series, too. The 40's is lean and a little astringent (a true wartime whisky); the 30's is similar to the 20's but younger tasting; the 50's is rich and lush, the closest to the Macallan of today. All 4 utilised some peated malt and this enhances their complexity, in my view, as indeed would mingling different fill sherry casks and bourbon casks.
Whether any of these bottles tastes like Macallan as actually sold in that Decade is hard to say, of course. Even if one tastes the 1926 being sold by Macallan today (in its Vintage Series), it was not bottled until many years later and was aged into the modern era more or less, so it does not really, in my view, give an idea of what a bottle bought, say, in that very year tasted like. The 1926 that can be bought today is much older whisky, for example than one available in the 1920's.
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