In 1998 The Macallan acquired a very rare bottle of 1861 from a private collection, and presented Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker, with the formidable challenge of replicating it. "I drew a tiny sample from the bottle with a hypodermic syringe inserted through the long driven cork. It was surprisingly fresh and vibrant, clearly The Macallan, but full of youthful vitality. Of course, we do not know the age at which it had been bottled, but judging from its golden colour and relative robustness in character, we suspect the whisky was matured in oak sherry casks from Spain. "Together with my team of expert nosers, I began to comb through our warehouses of maturing casks searching for whisky which matched the profile. The problem was that every time we went back to the original it seemed to be revealing new layers of complexity. In the end we vatted together twenty-eight casks, at different ages, to achieve a balanced profile which, in our view, reflects the true character, aroma and flavour of this historic whisky." As well as replicating the whisky, we were determined to recreate the 1861 bottle and labels. The original bottle had been hand blown and closed with a driven cork and lead capsule - all characteristic features of its age and provenance. Master glassmakers, Stölzle Flaconnage of Nottingly, West Yorkshire, fabricated a new mould and carefully added colour to the molten glass until it matched the original. Even the flaws in the 1860s bottle were replicated, but in a way which maintained the integrity of the glass. No two bottles are the same, with bubbles, scratches and flat spots randomly created. Nose: Citrus, dried fruits with spice, lightly floral and some toffee. Hints of wood smoke, apple, light oil, and malt. Taste: Spice, light lemon-citrus, resinous, lightly smoked oak, with hints of toffee. Aftertaste: Lingering, spice, slightly sweet, subtle smoked wood, malty.
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