September Auction – Full Casks Held in Bond – Tasting Notes
It seems that the impressive recent results for casks of whisky still held in bond in our previous sales have unearthed some more tantalising examples for auction. Another pair of Macallan 1994 ex-sherry hogsheads and – intriguingly – a 1990 barrel of Littlemill. To see a name as sought after as Macallan come up for sale is always exciting, but a cask of whisky from a closed distillery adds an extra layer of intrigue to the sale. Here are our notes for these casks based on the most recent samples drawn at the time of their last gaging.
Colour: Plain gold.Nose: At first an even balance between fresh fruits such as banana, kiwi, cider apple and pineapple, alongside touches of varnish and wood spice. The profile is immediately reminiscent and typical of other early 1990s Littlemills. Develops further with notes of fresh gooseberry, gorse and some grassy and wildflower qualities.
Nose: At first an even balance between fresh fruits such as banana, kiwi, cider apple and pineapple, alongside touches of varnish and wood spice. The profile is immediately reminiscent and typical of other early 1990s Littlemills. Develops further with notes of fresh gooseberry, gorse and some grassy and wildflower qualities.
Palate: Surprisingly zingy at first. Sharp fruit notes of tart gooseberry, citrus and a light grassiness. There is a substantial cereal aspect as well; notes of porridge oats, toast and barley sugar. The sweetness from the wood is noticeable but well integrated with the distillate. Some further notes of milk chocolate, vanilla fudge and cocoa. A little more tropical fruits towards the finish.
Finish: Medium length. Lingering butterscotch, barley sweetness and some green fruitiness.
Comments: The nose was the best part of this one, although overall it is a fine and classical example of Littlemill from this era. At times it is reminiscent of some of these Irish single malts of similar vintage. It retains good freshness for its age and shows a lively and often delicious fruit character. The purchaser of this cask may want to consider getting this one bottled sooner rather than later as, while it may reach 30, it is already showing signs of full maturity and may not benefit particularly from further extended ageing.
Colour: Full Amber
Nose: An immediate and beautifully earthy, nervous and resinous sherry. Surprisingly old style and reminiscent of some old Campbell Hope & King bottlings of Macallan with these bold notes of walnut wine, earthen floors, dunnage, many dark fruits such as dates, prune juice and sultanas along with rancio and pipe tobacco. Develops further tertiary notes of mint leaf, eucalyptus and camphor. Quite a remarkable nose!
Palate: The sherry character still dominates, although the weightiness of the distillate still matches it well and there is wonderful balance between these notes of truffle, earth, fruit jams, molasses and black pepper. Quite stunning really. With time some flecks of green fruit, tree bark and hessian emerge.
Finish: Long and very warm. A glow of dense, chocolatey sherry with dried herbs and morello cherries.
Comments: A spectacular and delightfully old style Macallan. Reminiscent in some ways of some early 1970s Glendronachs. The sherry is clean but dense and earthy, although never too intense or overbearing on the spirit. This could easily be bottled now or be left for up to another five years. Any longer however and I get the sense that it could easily start to become imbalanced.
Colour: Light Amber
Nose: Lighter, leafier and a little hotter than cask 2316. This is more towards green pepper, dried mushrooms, red fruits and notes of pollen, wild flowers, mead and dried herbs. More powerful and perhaps more singular than its sibling but not quite in the same old style vein. With time becomes more menthol and waxy giving way to some lovely green fruits.
Palate: Juicy fruits in the form of fruit jams and cordials with some dark chocolate, mint choc chip ice cream and herbal liqueurs. Cocktail bitters, caraway, rosewater and beeswax all appear. It wears its high abv surprisingly well. There is an oiliness and more overt fruitiness that betrays the fact this one is more dominated by the distillate and the cask is slightly less active than 2316. A meatiness towards the finish like beef stock.
Finish: Long with plenty of green fruit, wet leaves, cigar boxes, cured meats and peppery notes. Towards the end quite a distinctive note of orange bitters and orange peel emerges.
Comments: Perhaps not as stellar as 2316 but this is still excellent Macallan. The freshness means it could easily stand further ageing for a number of years should the purchaser choose to keep it in bond for extended maturation. However, it is already an excellent Macallan and it would not be too soon to bottle it in the coming year.
Auction Ends Wednesday 2nd August From 8 pm.
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