The Macallan Fine & Rare 1990



And now for something completely different.

Variety is the spice of life and I try to inject an element of the unknown as to what’s appearing on the site next. I’ve received some really positive comments about the Spirit of the Speyside coverage which is pleasing as each post does require time and effort. Hopefully these show what being enthusiastic about whisky is all about and thanks to those who have commented.

I’m acutely aware that it’s an easy trap to fall into covering the latest releases or relabeling a PR sheet as headline news or shoving a couple of links together in a top 5 click-bait frenzy. Content must be worthwhile and informative.  Even when delving into realm of reviews, I want to experience and discuss whiskies of interest to me. These needn’t be current or forthcoming as I’m more akin to looking back. 

Hence this Macallan review from their illustrious Fine & Rare range which was given to me by a generous friend. Any visitor to the distillery will have seen the incredible range of bottles behind the counter (pictured above) that I’m sure nowadays are just fakes given their value. The real stuff will be locked away until the very moment of purchase. To give you an example on my first visit to the distillery the assistant asked for my year of birth and told me that the whisky would be in the region of £750. Not bad I replied, only to be told that was for the 5cl miniature…ok then.

Much like the Glenfarclas range of Family Casks, Macallan’s Fine & Rare represents their best of except it’s in terms of a single cask. Each year is bottled for posterity and together they form the ultimate top trumps collection of whiskies. Whether or not that transpires into the tasting experience is another matter. Released in very small numbers with a growing price tag, it is sadly a range beyond the reach of most whisky enthusiasts. We’re about to discover if 1990 was a fine vintage or not, even with the addition of colouring.

Colour: a rich caramel additive
Nose: a rich resin quality with plump raisins and cinnamon. A touch of molasses sugar in the mix with cinnamon and ginger sponge cake. A stewed black tea, melted caramel mixed with dark chocolate.
Taste: at cask strength this isn't really noticeable given the age of the whisky. There's a marriage with the wood that results in flavour. Drinkable without water I'm ushered into a spice shop with cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, star anise and tannins. Beef dripping complete with that oily texture oozing across the palate. A huge finish as well a hint of crackling with black pepper.

Overall: the nose was ok, certainly nothing memorable but on the palate this dram explodes into life and the finish? Well that's still happening as I type this up. Yet again, if Macallan brought this level of complexity and flavour to the lower end of their range all the better. Rather than some of the dull No Age Statement releases they've been trying to palm us off with in recent times. Yes, the Macallan Edition No.1 which I reviewed exclusively on my Instagram channel is thoroughly worthwhile.

However in context of the price itself this bottle now on the secondary market in all likelihood will set you back over five thousand pounds. I'm sorry that's just utter nonsense and another reason why GlenDronach is such excellent value.

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