Thursday 2 June 2016

Tasted #300: The Macallan 65yo in Lalique - The "Peerless Spirit"

Whilst it doesn't happen every time, we try to reserve the major milestone "Tasted" posts on this site for serious whiskies - rare, unique and often incredibly old whiskies.

Our 40th post covered Glenfarclas 40yo, our 50th post the Master of Malt 50yo Speyside whisky, and our 200th post covered the Master of Malt 60yo Speyside whisky(Unfortunately we didn't follow the trend with this 1938 Macallan or this 1959 Macallan, which came in at #265 and #264 respectively...)  

So with us hitting "Tasted" #300 just as we celebrated the launch of the new The Macallan 65 years old in Lalique - "The Peerless Spirit" decanter, it was a no-brainer. We posted a detailed account of the media lunch yesterday, so this post focuses on our tasting notes.

It's not often you taste whisky from a €200 glass, and even less often when the whisky inside that glass is worth significantly more - especially when there's only 10mL in the glass! Such is the case though when you're tasting a whisky that retails for £23,000 / $35,000USD...

Fancy tasting glass aside, it's the whisky we're here to focus on, so let's get on with it...

The Macallan 65 years old in Lalique - "The Peerless Spirit" (46.3% ABV, 65yo, Highlands, Scotland, £23,000 / $35,000USD)
Colour: Honey walnut-brown

Nose: Lots of woodsmoke - a very interesting trait. Not "oak" as you may get find in other older whiskies, nor peat smoke. More of a forresty type note, with some hints of pine. There's also ginger, spice and even a slight hint of juniper. A lot of variety, and not the sort of notes you might expect from a whisky that was distilled in 1950 and bottled in 2015! A beautiful nose, and one I kept coming back to over the next 20 minutes.

Palate: More woodsmoke, jube confectionary, and a big whack of cloves. There's smoke, but not peat smoke. There's also, somewhat surprisingly, citrus notes - most notably grapefruit zest. The pine notes from the nose continue through.

Finish: Incredibly long, with none of the oaky, astringent tannins we've had on some other older whiskies. There's plenty of that woodsmoke again, and waves of typical sherry notes (dark chocolate, walnuts, almonds) interspersed with lighter, more floral and tropical notes of grapefruit and orange peel. 

Rating (on my very non-scientific scale): 95/100. We're not afraid to call out if we think an incredibly-aged whisky isn't brilliant, but in this case, we don't need to. This whisky IS brilliant. We've tried 40, 50, 58 and 60 year old whiskies in the past, and occasionally found them over-oaked. Yes, it's an incredible feat for a whisky to make it to such an age, but in the past we've thought some of them would have been better off bottled 5 or 10 years earlier. That's not the case with this whisky. This whisky feels spot-on - like it's taken a long, long leisurely stroll to get to it's pinnacle, but finally, after 65 years, it made it.

The Peerless Spirit’ decanter will retail for £23,000 / $35,000USD, and is limited to 450 bottles. It will be available in Hong Kong from this month.

Additionally, in January 2017 Edrington Hong Kong will put up a complete set of The Macallan in Lalique decanters, with all proceeds to be donated to charity (50% to HK-based charities and 50% to other Asia-based charities). We're told the set will be housed in a bespoke, yet-to-be created Lalique crystal cabinet, with additional items not available with the individual bottlings. We're also told the cabinet will contain a "secret drawer" with hidden whiskies! Have your chequebooks ready... would again like to thank Edrington Hong Kong for a truly fantastic and one of a kind event, to celebrate the launch of this incredible whisky.


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